Kelvinside Academy leads way in handball – just six years after school took up game

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Three West End pupils have been called up to the Great Britain U18 training squad – in the sport of handball.

The fantastic showing comes just six years after Kelvinside Academy began playing the game.

Euan Brady, Hamish Bottomley and Zander Geddes will join other U18 hopefuls for intense training camps in March and April, ahead of the final selection in July.

Handball and Kelvinside Academy
Pictured: Top to bottom – Zander Geddes, Hamish Bottomley and Euan Brady

Their call-up for the training squad comes ahead of this summer’s European Handball Federation Championships.

The three boys, who also play in the school’s first XV rugby team, formed part of the trailblazing year group to play handball at Kelvinside Academy just five years ago.

All three have since represented Scotland at U15, U16 and U17 level.

In the short time since the sport was introduced, the school has won 16 national titles.

The most recent of which was the U17 schools championship which took place last Friday.

Meanwhile, 13 pupils have been capped for Scotland at age grade.

Handball and Kelvinside Academy
Show stopper: Hamish Bottomley was named Scotland’s U17 player of the year last year

Teacher Fiona Kennedy leads the programme which has seen the private school become a centre of handball excellence in Scotland.

She said: “The pupils caught the bug watching a game at London 2012, and they haven’t looked back since.

“It’s been infectious, everyone wants to have a go. It’s amazing how quickly so many of our pupils have taken to the sport.

“With more than 100 of our pupils playing handball every week, the School now employs handball coach, Sarah Carrick, herself a senior GB player.

“News of these GB call ups should encourage even more people to take part.

“The boys have really shown both natural talent and immense dedication to reach this level.”

Handball and Kelvinside Academy
Shoot: Euan Brady demonstrates the skill that has set the school apart

Goalkeeper Hamish Bottomley from Scotstoun, who was named Scotland’s U17 player of the year last year, said: “In my final year at the school, it’s amazing to look back and think how handball has grown.

“I’m excited not only to get the call-up and have the chance to prove myself against the best in the country, but also to get to experience it with two of my friends who I started playing with just a few years ago.”

Zander Geddes from Newton Mearns is excited to fight for a place in the squad for the championships, which take place in Tulin, Austria from August 10 to August 19 this year.

He said: “I couldn’t believe it when I heard I had been selected. It’s a huge honour. I’ve loved the sport since I started playing it.

“Handball’s not widely played in this country but I think that’s bound to change.”

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