The EHF EURO 2014 has set a new attendance record, but this was just one part of the many positive statements at the closing press conference of the 11th EHF European Championship on Sunday.
"We have seen two weeks of superb handball in exceptional atmosphere and everybody following this event could receive an illustration of the enthusiasm this event has triggered in Denmark," EHF President Jean Brihault said.
"Even before the final two games we can already say we shall break a new attendance record of the EHF EURO history with 316,000 spectators."
"We have to congratulate on this success the two representatives of the Danish organisers (Per Bertelsen and Morten Stig Christensen) who sit here at this table with us.
"They did a good job, look how pale they are and be sure not only because they are worried because of the final, but because of all their work,“ Brihault added with a smile on his face.
While praising the overall quality of performances on the court he also underlined another fact.
"We had a few surprises, we saw many thrilling matches and this tournament was basically injury-free, what is also a point to underline and which demonstrates the quality of preparation and fitness of all teams."
EHF Secretary General Michael Wiederer suggested that tournament is ready for even greater audience.
"The last two weeks proved that handball is a sport which is ready for larger halls," Wiederer said.
"Also TV figures proved handball is a good product, if we just mention that coverage in Denmark reached 70 per cent market share, or that in Poland the matches of their national team were followed by seven million people. We are on a good way," he added.
Handball hearts were pumping close to overdrive
Morten Stig Christensen General Secretary of the Danish Handball Federation (DHF) thanked for opportunity to host the 2014 edition of the EHF EURO.
"It has been a great and unique experience for all of us. EHF EURO 2014 was a window to the world and we could show Danish passion for handball,“ he said.
"Our supporters in the arena in Herning were fantastic and everybody will remember how they sang the national anthem.
"And handball hearts across the whole country have been pumping close to overdrive in front of the TV screens. Our fans have created the biggest handball party," he added.
Christensen also praised the work of all volunteers at the tournament. "Their big hearts and warm hands showed true spirit of Danish handball," he said.
The DHF's President Per Bertelsen added: "All host cities have done a great job, and we also want to thank the arena managements and people working there. We have shown together that the heart of handball really beats in Denmark.“
As JJ Rowland, Head of EHF Media and Communications informed, the tournament in Denmark has been the best covered EHF EURO in history with over 35,000 downloads of the official app, hundreds of thousand watching and following the official Youtube channel, on social media such as Facebook and Twitter as well as via the official website.
Sian Rowland Special Media Award for Handballwoche
On the fringes of the closing press conference the "Siân Rowland Special Media Award" was handed over to the German weekly magazine "Handballwoche", represented by their editor-in-chief Olaf Bruchmann.
"It has been decided to present this award for Handballwoche, who has for over 60 years provided handball information not only on the German market but they are read all over Europe," EHF Secretary General Michael Wiederer explained.
The award is in memory of the former EHF Communications Manager, Siân Rowland, who passed away in December 2008.
The Siân Rowland Special Media Award is presented on a biennial basis at the Men’s EHF European Championship.
The first two recipients of the Sian Rowland Special Media Award were Günter Pfeistlinger and Hans Hugentobler.