Handball has a long and successful history and tradition in Belarus – and dates back even into Soviet time, when a number of players from Minsk were part of the national team and the clubs from Minsk were even dominant in Europe. After the fall of the Soviet regime, the Belarusian men’s national team made as they were part of the first ever match at an EHF EURO final tournament on 3 June 1994 in Porto, Portugal, the opening match of the first ever EHF EURO against Germany, which Belarus sensationally won 24:23.
It took 14 long years until Belarus was on the EHF EURO map again, qualifying for the 2008 edition. When Siarhei Rutenka (five time VELUX EHF Champions League winner with Celje, Ciudad Real and his current club Barcelona) returned to the national team, after intermediately holding Slovenian and Spanish citizenship, the upswing began.
Rutenka is the focal point in the team of coach Youri Chevtzov and since his return the only way has been up. In 2012 Belarus qualified for the World Championship in Spain after eliminating Slovakia, and even managed to proceed past the preliminary round before they were eliminated by Croatia.
Well-known Siarhei Rutenka is arguably one of the best handball players in the world. Having learned his skills at the Minsk handball school, he won his first silverware in 2000 when came second at the 2000 Junior European Championship with Belarus. A year later the left back joined Slovenian club Celje with which he won the EHF Champions League in 2004.
The same year he acquired Slovenian citizenship and became one of the outstanding players at the 2006 EHF EURO in Switzerland, being crowned the tournament's top scorer with 51 goals.
At that stage he already played in Spain where he first won the EHF Champions League with Ciudad Real in 2006, 2008 and 2009, before transferring to his current club, FC Barcelona (for a record sum of 1,2 million euros), with which he again won Europe's premier club handball competition in 2011.
In September 2010 Siarhei Rutenka again obtained eligibility to play for Belarus' national team. He is currently the team's captain and one of its key players.
Like Siarhei Rutenka Maksim Baranau learned the game of handball in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. From 2007 to 2010 he played for local side SKA Minsk, competing on the national level but also in the EHF Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup.
In July 2010 Baranau signed a contract with HC Meshkov Brest. With this club he won the Belarusian Cup in 2011, and finished as runners-up in the Belarusian national championship on three occasions (2008, 2011 and 2012).
The right wing made his debut in the national team in 2008 and has since assumed a key role.In 64 matches (as of September 2012) he has scored 166 goals.
Dzmitry Nikulenkau played for Minsk handball club Arkatron until the 2003/04 season. He then joined Polish side Vive Targi Kielce with which he won the Polish national cup in 2008.
With this victory pocketed, Nikulenkau returned to Belarus and has since been of the key players as well as the team captain for HC Dinamo Minsk.
From 2009 to 2013 he won five consecutive national championships with his club as well as the national cup on two occassions.
THE COACH - Iouri Chevtsov
Iouri Chevtsov has been the head coach of Belarus' national team. Under his guidance the team qualified for the 2013 World Championship as well as for the 2014 EHF EURO - the biggest success since 2008.
As a player Chevtsov amassed several titles with SKA Minsk. Six times he won the national USSR championship, three times (1987, 1989, 1990) the European Champions Cup, the EHF Champion League's predecessor.
As part of the USSR national team he won Olympic gold in 1988 and the World Championship in 1992. Following the fall of the iron curtain he started a coaching career in Germany.
His first stint was with Berlin side Blau-Weiss Spandau, followed by jobs on the bench of TBV Lemgo, TUSEM Essen and Rhein-Neckar Löwen.
With Essen Chevtsov won the EHF Cup in 2005.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events