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Anthropometric and physical performance characteristics of top-elite, elite and non-elite youth female team handball playersIn order to maximise the potential for success, developing nations need to produce superior systems to identify and develop talent, which requires comprehensive and up-to-date values on elite players. This study examined the anthropometric and physical characteristics of youth female team handball players (16.07 ± 1.30 y) in non-elite (n= 47), elite (n= 37) and top-elite players (n= 29). Anthropometric profiling included sum of eight skinfolds, body mass, stature, girths, breadths and somatotype. Performance tests included 20 m sprint, counter movement jump, throwing velocity, repeated shuttle sprint and jump ability test, and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1. Youth top-elite players had greater body mass, lean mass, stature, limb girths and breadths than elite and non-elite players, while only stature and flexed arm were higher in elite compared to non-elite players (all P < 0.05). Sum of skinfolds and waist-to-hip ratio were similar between groups (P > 0.05). Top-elite performed better in most performance tests compared to both elite and non-elite players (P < 0.05), although maximal and repeated10 m sprints were similar between standard (P > 0.05). Elite outperformed non-elite players in throwing velocity only. Findings reveal that non-elite players compare unfavourably to top-elite international European players in many anthropometric and performance characteristics, and differ in few characteristics compared to elite European club team players. This study is useful for emerging team handball nations in improving talent identification processes.