Women's handball team returns to NL as world champions; nominated for team of the year

The Dutch Women's Handball team returned to the Netherlands on Tuesday morning as the new World Champions. They arrived at Schiphol at 5:00 a.m., and despite the early hour, were awaited by dozens of fans. The Dutch women won the World Cup on Sunday and is one of the nominees for Sports Team of the Year, NU.nl reports.

The nominees for the Sportgala were announced on December 1st, and as a result it seemed that the handball women did not make the list. But on Monday, organizers NOC*NSF and NOS adjusted the regulations so that the women can compete for the prize after their World Cup victory.

"It is great that we were nominated after all", Kelly Dulfer said to NU.nl in the arrival hall at Schiphol. "The nomination is justified. I thought it was strange that we were not nominated because we were still going to play. But it is great that we now have a chance to win."

Goalkeeper Tess Wester is also pleased. "I've been [at the Sportgala] twice before and then it was a fun party. So I'm looking forward to it. It is definitely an honor. I also think we have more than earned the nomination."

"It is very nice that we still get recognition for that," Lois Abbingh said. "We heard it on the plane. The Sportgala always falls badly for us because our European and World Championships are always in December. It's nice to see that things have gone differently now."

The Sportgala will be held at AFAS Live in Amsterdam on Wednesday. The nominations are as follows:

  • Sportsman of the Year - Mathieu van der Poel, Virgil van Dijk, Max Verstappen
  • Sportswoman of the Year - Sifan Hassan, Suzanne Schulting, Annemiek van Vleuten
  • Paralympic athlete of the Year - Diede de Groot, Jeroen Kampschreur, Jetze Plat
  • Sports team of the Year - Ajax, Oranje Lionesses, rowers doubles, sprinter track cycling team, women's handball
  • Coach of the Year -  Erik ten Hag, Sarina Wiegman, Hugo Haak