Handball has a long and successful history and tradition in Belarus, dating back to the Soviet Union era when many players from Minsk were part of the national team. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Belarusian men's national team made history when they were part of the first match at an EHF EURO event on 3 June 1994 in Porto. They faced Germany and recorded a sensational 24:23 victory.
However, it was 14 long years until Belarus participated in an EHF EURO again, in 2008. These days the undeniable star of the team is Siarhei Rutenka. Under his on-court guidance and with coach Iouri Chevtsov courtside, Belarus qualified for the World Championships 2013 and 2015 as well as the EHF EURO 2014 - and, of course, for the 2016 event, courtesy of finishing second in Group 2.
Siarhei Rutenka is arguably one of the best handball players in the world. Having learned his skills at the Minsk handball school, he won his first silverware in 2000 when he came second at the 2000 Junior European Championship with Belarus. A year later the left back joined Slovenian club Celje with which he won the EHF Champions League in 2004.
The same year he acquired Slovenian citizenship and became one of the outstanding players at the 2006 EHF EURO in Switzerland, being crowned the tournament's top scorer with 51 goals.
At that stage he already played in Spain where he first won the EHF Champions League with Ciudad Real in 2006, 2008 and 2009, before transferring to his current club, FC Barcelona (for a record sum of 1,2 million euros), with which he again won Europe's premier club handball competition in 2011 and 2015. This feat turned him into one of the few players who have won the EHF Champions League six times.
In September 2010 Siarhei Rutenka again obtained eligibility to play for Belarus' national team. He is currently the team's captain and one of its key players.
With 586 goals in 137 matches (as of October 2015) Barys Pukhouski is Belarus' overall top scorer. The centre back started his career at SKA Minsk where played from 2002 to 2009 and again in the 2012/13 following a three-season stint with local rivals Dinamo Minsk. In 2013 he joined Csurgoi KK in Hungary and since this season he is playing for Motor Zaporozhye. He made his debut for the national team in 2007.
On club level he won the Belarusian championship in 2010, 2011 and 2012 as well as the Belarusian Cup in 2010. With SKA Minsk he also came out on top in the Challenge Cup in the 2012/13 season.
Iouri Chevtsov has been the head coach of Belarus' national team since July 2009. Under his guidance the team qualified for the World Championships 2013 and 2015 as well as for the EHF EURO 2014 and 2016. As a player Chevtsov amassed several titles with SKA Minsk. Six times he won the national USSR championship, three times (1987, 1989, 1990) the European Champions Cup, the EHF Champion League's predecessor.
As part of the USSR national team he won Olympic gold in 1988 and the World Championship in 1992. Following the fall of the iron curtain he started a coaching career in Germany. His first stint was with Berlin side Blau-Weiss Spandau, followed by jobs on the bench of TBV Lemgo, TUSEM Essen and Rhein-Neckar Löwen. With Essen Chevtsov won the EHF Cup in 2005.
Past Performance at EHF EURO Events