During the 2014 Central American and Caribbean Games, Puerto Rico’s delegation celebrated when the men’s and women’s handball teams won gold and silver medals, respectively. Four years later, both affiliates won silver medals in Barranquilla, Colombia, and even a few Puerto Rican athletes began playing in international club leagues.

Celebrating these achievements, Luis Fuster made it his goal to begin the work of developing the next generations that will represent Puerto Rico in the years to come. To do this, Fuster founded the Elite Handball Club of Puerto Rico, a corporation dedicated to fostering a passion for sports among young people. with the hope that there are replacements on the island that will allow the country to continue climbing the podiums in international arenas.

I dedicate myself to building teams in different cities through training elementary school teachers. The aim is for teachers to be able to present a team and we give them the tools to follow the development of federated events and eventually club typeFuster explained.

The project started in 2016 and is currently operating in Ponce, San Juan and Guaynabo. The long-term goal is to cover several sectors of the island.

“The first is to get an interested PE teacher to prepare for the Sports and Recreation Department (DRD) School Games, and that’s where we’re starting. The idea is to spread the sport. The corporation takes care of this by creating tournaments. We go to schools to offer clinics wherever they call us. We’re going from Humacao to Ponce, Fuster said.

The idea is to teach children the benefits of sports. (supplied)

Although the project flourished, it also faced some resistance.

Registration is a bit complicated if you go to the municipal recreation and sports offices. It’s always a struggle in the beginning because the day to day is so hectic and when you come up with something new, it’s not reliable. however, When we get the schools fully involved to talk to the principal, it works so much better for us because the school is involved and the young people fall in love with the sport.. They ask teachers for seminars, and in this way we were able to handle it,” Fuster emphasized.

“It’s working for us and the word is spreading. We get calls from other schools and can hold tournaments,” he continued.

Dilemmas within the Federation

Fuster noted that, in his opinion, The Puerto Rico Handball Federation is in crisis which must be overcome in order to promote the development of athletes who will eventually make national teams.

“I understand that the federation worked well then, but now it is in a very big bankruptcy. He is in serious condition. The administration has done many things, but at this historical moment, it is not the case. We have tried to cooperate to continue development and massification, but there is resistance, and they do not like that someone else is doing what suits them,” Fuster lamented.

Luis Fuster is the Technical Director of Puerto Rico Elite Handball.
Luis Fuster is the Technical Director of Puerto Rico Elite Handball. (supplied)

Even so, he hopes there will be a revival.

“Teams continue to practice with juniors and adults, but they have become very poor. We had to sit down and think about initiatives because we cannot sit still“, he concluded.