CAIRO, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) — Host nation Egypt opened the 2021 International Handball Federation (IHF) Men’s World Championship with a 35-29 win over Chile in the group stage on Wednesday.

The Pharaohs had the upper hand from the very beginning of the match, with at least a three-point lead for the majority of the first half that ended 18-11 in favor of the hosts.

The South American team tried to get back on track in the second half, but failed to reduce the gap and ultimately lost the contest. Egypt’s Zamalek left back Yehia Elderaa, 25, was named man of the match.

The 27th Men’s World Championship was opened earlier in the evening at Cairo International Stadium by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, who welcomed the participating teams from 32 countries and regions.

He referred to the event as “the largest sports gathering witnessed by the world today,” stressing that holding such a big event is a message that “the world has become able to coexist with the new situation imposed by the coronavirus pandemic.” Running from January 13 to 31, all games are held without spectators due to Covid-19 restrictions.

It is the first time for Egypt to host the world’s showpiece handball competition in 22 years.

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