Norway beach handball team shocked they have to 'pay to not play in panties'

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Watch: Norway's Women's Beach Handball Team Gets Fined for Wearing Shorts

A member of the Norwegian handball team has spoken out after the team was fined for wearing shorts instead of bikini bottoms during a tournament.

The 10-member team were fined £1,295 for breaking the dress code at the European Beach Handball Championships last week.

The team showed up for their bronze medal match against Spain wearing shorts, which is against the rules set by the International Handball Federation.

Player Tonje Lerstad told the BBC: “It's so shocking that we have to pay for not playing in our panties.”

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KAZAN, RUSSIA - JULY 29: Norway team line up during 2018 Women's Beach Handball World Cup final against Greece on July 29, 2018 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Ilnar Tukhbatov/Epsilon/Getty Images)
Norway team line up during 2018 Women's Beach Handball World Cup final against Greece on July 29, 2018 in Kazan, Russia. (Getty)

She added that “things got very crazy” after the players made their stand with popstar Pink even offering to pay the fine as she praised the team.

Lerstad also said she was not surprised by the fine but called it "incredible" and “really stupid”.

She added that the team “absolutely” plans to continue wearing shorts at their next game at the World Championships.

It comes as the issue of sexualisation around athletes' clothing has come to the fore during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

German gymnasts have been wearing unitards to protest against skimpier uniforms they believe exploit their sexuality.

In a message posted on Instagram on Thursday, gymnast Sarah Voss described the decision as a project "close to the hearts of our team".

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The Olympics are the first Summer Games since Larry Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics national team doctor, was sent to prison for 176 years for sexually abusing hundreds of gymnasts, including some of the sport’s greatest stars.

Meanwhile, the head of broadcasting at the Tokyo Games has sought to banish overly sexualised images of female athletes.

Olympic Broadcasting Services chief executive Yiannis Exarchos said: “You will not see in our coverage some things that we have been seeing in the past, with details and close-up on parts of the body.”

“What we can do is to make sure that our coverage does not highlight or feature in any particular way what people are wearing,” he added.

This year’s games have also seen athletes using their platform to speak out on a host of issues in the sports industry.

After winning his first Olympic gold medal, British diver Tom Daley said: “I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion."

KAZAN, RUSSIA - JULY 29: Norway team line up during 2018 Women's Beach Handball World Cup final against Greece on July 29, 2018 in Kazan, Russia. (Photo by Ilnar Tukhbatov/Epsilon/Getty Images)
The Norwary team pictured in 2018. (Getty)

He added: “In terms of out athletes, there are more openly out athletes at these Olympic Games than any Olympic Games previously.

“I came out in 2013 and when I was younger I always felt like the one that was alone and different and didn’t fit. There was something about me that was never going to be as good as what society wanted me to be.”

The games have also seen a fierce debate erupt over trans athletes after New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard made history in June when she was selected to compete in the woman’s event at the Tokyo Olympics.

It comes after the IOC changed its rules allowing transgender athletes to compete as a woman if their testosterone levels are below a certain threshold.

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