Djukic says emotional farewell to GB

07 August 2012 / 15:18

Great Britain's elimination from the men's handball competition spells the end of coach Dragan Djukic's reign and he thanked his squad for making his time "special".

The Serbian has been at the helm for the last three years and has played an integral role in the squad development and preparation for their maiden Olympic Games. When he took charge Team GB had only been formed three years and the transformation under him has been marked.

While they were comprehensively outplayed during the preliminary stages at the Copper Box, they have played their part in triggering the handball craze that has swept the nation during the Games.

Their campaign came to an end with a heavy defeat to Iceland, but the 41-24 scoreline does not tell the whole story as Team GB put in their best-ever performance in the first half and matched the reigning silver medallists.

And Djukic, who leaves to take up a post with Israel next month, is happy to go out with a bang, but upset to leave his squad.

"It is very emotional, before the game I received a present from my players to mark my last and 50th game in charge and in three days so that was a very emotional moment," he told Press Association Sport.

"I feel really happy because all of these people who have filled the Copper Box over the last 10 days and I was very happy that in the first half against Iceland we could play on the same level as, for me, the best team.

"I am happy because of the boys and what they have done. I have to say thanks for all they did. It's not easy to stay with me for three years, ask my wife! Everything that we have done in the last three years has been special.

"It is amazing to play handball in your own country in Olympic Games and for me it was a pleasure to lead them.

"For me, it's the been the best Olympic Games ever and to be involved in it I feel really proud."