Russia women's national handball team

The Russia women's national handball team is the national team of Russia. It is governed by the Handball Union of Russia and takes part in international handball competitions.

AssociationHandball Union of Russia
CoachAmbros Martín
Assistant coachAlexey Alekseev
Oleg Kiselev
CaptainAnna Sen
Most capsLyudmila Postnova (212)
Most goalsLyudmila Postnova (722)
Ranking#2 (230 points)
Summer Olympics
Appearances3 (First in 2008)
Best result1st (2016)
World Championship
Appearances13 (First in 1993)
Best result1st (2001, 2005, 2007, 2009)
European Championship
Appearances13 (First in 1994)
Best result2nd (2006, 2018)
Last updated on Unknown.
Russia women's national handball team
Medal record
Olympic Games
2016 Rio de JaneiroTeam
2008 BeijingTeam
World Championship
2001 Italy
2005 Russia
2007 France
2009 China
2019 Japan
European Championship
2006 Sweden
2018 France
2000 Romania
2008 Macedonia

They are as of January 2011, the only handball team on the women's and men's side in the world, to have won the World Championship three consecutive times. Team Russia finally won their first gold at the 2016 Olympics, defeating France in the final.


1993–1999: Instability

The Russian women's national handball team was formed in 1993 as the successor Soviet Union women's national handball team, one of the strongest handball teams. Notwithstanding the third place at the 1992 Summer Olympics as Unified Team, Russia in the following eight years could not qualify to the Olympic Games.[1]

In this period the Russian team saw four changes of coaches, who retired after failing on large events. The only striking performance was at the 1997 World Women's Handball Championship, where Russia under Igor Eskov, coach of the Rostov club Istochnik, became 4th, and two Russian handball players, Natalya Malakhova and Natalya Deryugina, were included into the All-Star team. However, already in the next year at the 1998 European Women's Handball Championship in the Netherlands, Russia became only 9th, and at the 1999 World Women's Handball Championship, under Kuban's Alexander Tarasikov and head coach of the Unified Team at the 1992 Olympics, just 12th.[1]

1999–2009: Breakthrough

In late 1999, Tarasikov was replaced by Evgeny Trefilov, the club coach of Lada. He introduced younger players to the national team and concentrated more on national club players. At the 2000 European Championship, Russia became bronze medalist.[1]

At the 2001 World Championship, Trefilov returned two veterans, Raisa Verakso, which was her sixth participation at Worlds, and the 1990 World champion, goalkeeper Svetlana Bogdanova. Russia won all nine matches, and in the final defeated Norway.[2]

Against the backgrounds of those victories, team Russia became 4th at the 2002 European Championship in Denmark, and a year later at the World Championship in Croatia they became only 7th, which meant that Trefilov's team could not qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games. Only one point was needed to reach the semi-finals in Croatia, but Russia failed to do that against France in the group stage, losing 19–20; a draw would have been enough to qualify.

After the fourth-best result at the 2004 European Championship in Hungary, team Russia rose from the ashes at the 2005 World Championship in St. Petersburg, repeating the 2001 success in Italy.[3]

Russia lost in the final of the 2006 European Championship to Norway, and so could not directly qualify for the Olympics; however, Russia rematched Norway at the 2007 World Championship in France in the final. A number of top handball players such as Lyudmila Bodnieva, MVP of the previous World championships and member of the All-Star Team at the 2000 and 2006 European championships, Irina Bliznova, who was injured in the group stage, Natalya Shipilova, who could not compete in the semi-finals. Goal keeper Inna Suslina made a great game, saving three out of five penalties. Russia won 29–24.[4]

Norway returned the favour at the 2008 Olympics. Already in the early stage leading ten balls, the Vikings hindered the Russians coming back, and so Russia lost 34–27.[5]

After the Olympic Games, Anna Kareeva, Oksana Romenskaya and Natalya Shipilova decided to retire from handball.[6][7] Prior to the 2008 European Championship in Macedonia, players such as Polina Vyakhireva, Yana Uskova, Ekaterina Andryushina, Lydmila Postnova and Irina Bliznova could not compete for Russia due to injuries or disease; they were replaced by nine debutants. Russia again met Norway in the semi-finals, and as previously, the Scandinavians started well, leading 7–1 in the beginning. In the third-place match between Germany, Russia claimed bronze.[8]

The Russians defeated the Norwegians in the semi-final of the 2009 World Championship with a score of 28–20. In the final, Russia claimed the gold medal by defeating France, 25–22.

2009–2013: Decline and Retirement of Trefilov

After the 2009 World Championships, team Russia saw a number of disappointing results. They became 7th at the 2010 European Championship and 6th at the 2011 World Championship. Russia could not get beyond the quarterfinal of the 2012 Olympics, losing there to South Korea. After the London Olympics, the new head coach became Vitaly Krokhin.

In June 2013, Russia fought for the qualification to the World Championship. In the playoff round, Russia won the first leg in Rotterdam, 27–26, but lost the next leg in Rostov-on-Don, 21–33. With that said, Russia for the first time did not qualify for the Worlds.[9]

2013–19: Trefilov's Return

On 16 September 2013, Evgeny Trefilov returned as head coach.[10] He debuted at the 2014 European Championship, but Russia became a dreadful 14th, the worst ever result in the European championships. However, on 7 and 13 June 2015, Russia twice defeated Germany in the playoffs and qualified for the 2015 World Championship. In their first match they defeated the Norwegians, 26–25.[11] However, the Russians only reached the quarterfinals, losing there to Poland. In the playoffs, team Russia was placed 5th.[12]

Russia for the third time qualified to the Olympics, through the qualification tournament taking place from 18–20 March 2016 in Astrakhan. In the group stage of the Olympic tournament, Russia defeated all of its rivals. In the knockout stage, the Russians defeated Angola in the quarterfinal, and in the marathon semi-final match between Norway claimed the deciding point in overtime. In the final, Russia defeated France to claim its first Olympic gold in women's handball.[13][14]

At the 2018 European Championsips, the last time under the guidance of Trefilov, Russia broke through the final for the first time since 2006. Russia lost to host France, who took its first championship title.

2019–: Ambros Martin as new head coach

In August 2019, national team's head coach Trefliov was replaced by Rostov-Don's Ambros Martin. Trefilov took the post as vice-president of the Handball Federation of Russia.[15]


Olympic Games

Year Position Pld W D L GS GA

World Championship

Year Position Pld W D L GS GA +/–
/ 19956th8413187171+16
/ 199912th6303178144+34
20011st 9900252194+58
20051st 101000328239+89
20071st 9711324279+45
20091st 9603253242+11
2013Did not qualify
20193rd 10901311224+87

European Championship

Year Position Pld W D L GS GA +/-
20003rd 7502163148+15
20062nd 8701242200+42
20083rd 8512210183+27
20182nd 8503217209+8

Other tournaments


Current squad

Squad for the 2019 World Women's Handball Championship.[16][17]

Head coach: Ambros Martin

No. Pos. Name Date of birth (age) Height App. Goals Club
1 GK Anna Sedoykina (1984-08-01) 1 August 1984 1.85 m 145 5 Rostov-Don
2 LW Polina Kuznetsova (1987-06-10) 10 June 1987 1.68 m 147 397 Rostov-Don
8 LB Anna Sen (1990-12-03) 3 December 1990 1.86 m 140 329 Rostov-Don
9 LB Olga Gorshenina (1990-11-09) 9 November 1990 1.83 m 45 24 CSKA Moscow
11 GK Anastasia Lagina (1995-08-11) 11 August 1995 1.80 m 2 0 HC Lada
13 RB Anna Vyakhireva (1995-03-13) 13 March 1995 1.68 m 81 360 Rostov-Don
17 LB Vladlena Bobrovnikova (1987-10-24) 24 October 1987 1.80 m 58 149 Rostov-Don
19 P Kseniya Makeyeva (1990-09-19) 19 September 1990 1.85 m 139 274 Rostov-Don
23 LB Elena Mikhaylichenko (2001-09-14) 14 September 2001 1.79 m 4 5 HC Lada
25 RW Olga Fomina (1989-04-17) 17 April 1989 1.75 m 115 234 HC Lada
27 P Yana Zhilinskayte (1989-03-06) 6 March 1989 1.85 m 38 32 CSKA Moscow
34 LB Elizaveta Malashenko (1996-02-26) 26 February 1996 1.79 m 47 58 HC Astrakhanochka
36 RW Yulia Managarova (1988-09-27) 27 September 1988 1.67 m 34 104 Rostov-Don
63 LW Kristina Kozhokar (1994-02-28) 28 February 1994 1.74 m 22 32 Rostov-Don
67 P Anastasia Illarionova (1999-03-28) 28 March 1999 1.80 m 3 3 Zvezda Zvenigorod
77 CB Yaroslava Frolova (1997-05-18) 18 May 1997 1.77 m 28 32 HC Kuban Krasnodar
88 GK Victoriya Kalinina (1988-12-08) 8 December 1988 1.83 m 84 0 HC Kuban Krasnodar

Notable players

Several Russian players have seen their individual performance recognized at international tournaments, either as Most Valuable Player, best defense player or as a member of the All-Star Team.

All-Star Team
Best defense player

See also


  1. "Из того, что было" [From what was there] (in Russian). 18 December 2000. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  2. Georgy Kudinov (18 December 2001). "Русские женщины умеют делать подарки" [Russian women can bring offerings] (in Russian). Sport-Express. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  3. Elena Rerikh, Vladimir Yurinov (19 December 2005). "Русский хоровод" [Russian round dance] (in Russian). Sport-Express. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2016.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. Natalya Kuzina (17 December 2007). "Какие же золотые у них руки!" [They have such golden hands!] (in Russian). Sovyetsky Sport. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  5. Regina Sevostyanova (23 August 2008). "Трефилов: сначала женщины плачут, потом ревут" [Trefilov: At first women cry, then howl] (in Russian). Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  6. Vladimir Mozhatsev (4 September 2008). "2008-09-04" (in Russian). Sport-Express. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  7. "Гандбол: Шипилова завершает карьеру" [Handball: Shipilova ends career] (in Russian). 14 September 2008. Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  8. Vladimir Mozhaytsev (15 December 2008). "В Македонии родилась новая сборная России" [A new team was born in Macedonia] (in Russian). Sport-Express. Archived from the original on 5 December 2012. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  9. "Чемпионат мира впервые пройдёт без нас" [The World Championship will be without us for the first time] (in Russian). Handball Federation of Russia. Archived from the original on 18 June 2013. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  10. Anastasia Bogdanova (16 September 2013). "Король Треф" [King Tref] (in Russian). Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  11. Россиянки стартовали на чемпионате мира с победы
  12. Borislav Golovin (20 December 2015). "Российские гандболистки попали в пятерку" [Russian handball players became fifth] (in Russian). Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  13. Mikhail Chesalin (19 August 2016). "Ругай их, ругай! Как Россия вышла в финал Олимпиады" [Scold them, scold them! How Russia entered the Olympic final] (in Russian). Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  14. "Российские гандболистки завоевали золото Олимпийских игр в Рио-де-Жанейро" [Russian handball players won gold at the Rio Olympic Games] (in Russian). Retrieved 21 August 2016.
  15. “I'm not leaving handball”: Russian coach legend Trefilov moves up to federation vice-president role
  16. России, Федерация гандбола. "Состав сборной России на чемпионат мира". (in Russian). Retrieved 20 November 2019.
  17. 2019 World Women's Handball Championship squad
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