Norway’s national women’s handball team, affectionately known as the country’s håndballjentene (handball girls), were smiling again after winning their last two matches at the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. That raised spirits after an initial opening match loss to Brazil, but now they’re being booed by Brazilian spectators.
The Norwegians won their second match, against powerhouse Spain, earlier this week and now they’ve also beaten Angola, by a score of 30-20. The match, however, featured chronic booing from Brazilian spectators in the arena who apparently still view the Norwegians as the biggest threat against their own national team.
“When you’re out on the court, you don’t notice the booing so much,” player Emile Hegh Arntzen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “But I think it’s unnecessary for them to boo us all the time. That’s just the way they are, I guess.”
Arntzen scored four goals in the match against Angola, a team that had been doing surprisingly well in the Olympics so far. She had contributed to Norway’s solid victory over the Angolans, though, and the Brazilians did not like that. They wanted to do everything they could to cheer Angola to victory over Norway. NRK reported that when Norway had the ball, the Brazilians booed. When Angola score, they exploded with cheering.
Norway’s victory over Angola was important as the team advances at the Olympics. Norway has long been an international power in women’s handball, and one of Norway’s few medal hopes in Rio.
Other Norwegian players weren’t so put off by the behaviour of the Brazilian spectators. “It’s better than to play without any noise in the hall at all,” said Norwegian player Amanda Kurtovic.