Women’s EHF EURO 2014

A collection of all the articles written by me during the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary and Croatia. From December 3 to 22 I was based in Györ, Debrecen and Budapest covering Group A, Main Round Group I and the final weekend.

Neagu wraps it up for Romania
FEATURE: After a mixed tournament of surprise wins and disappointment, Romania’s Cristina Neagu talks about the EHF EURO 2014 from her perspective.

Tomori: “One person alone cannot replace Anita”
FEATURE: In the absence of Anita Görbicz, Hungary’s new captain Zsuzsanna Tomori is leading her national team through one of its most challenging tournaments, as the co-hosts face high expectations.

EHF Master Coach and Licensing Course concludes in Györ
The participants of the Open Master Coach and Licensing Course, including THW Kiel coach Alfred Gislason, received their qualifications as the course closed on Saturday.

Dmitrieva’s flawless debut
NEWS REPORT: 19-year-old Daria Dmitrieva was top scorer of the match and best player for Russia in her first official international on Sunday.

Huge coverage and exciting arenas
NEWS REPORT: The Women’s EHF EURO 2014 was officially opened in Györ on Sunday with a press conference attended by representatives of the EHF and the Hungarian Handball Federation.

Final stage of EHF Master Coach and Licensing Course opens
EHF President Jean Brihault opened the third and final module of the EHF RINCK Convention Open Master Coach and Licensing Course in Györ on Saturday.

Match previews and reviews:
Norway win sixth EHF EURO gold
REVIEW: Norway claimed their sixth EHF EURO title in Budapest on Sunday, defeating Spain 28:25 thanks to a strong second half after trailing by two at half-time.

A chance to make history
PREVIEW: When Spain take to the court against Norway for the EHF EURO 2014 Final, they have the opportunity to win gold for the first time – and they are ready to grab that chance.

Handball media take their turn on the court
The EHF EURO 2014 handball media took to the court on Saturday for an entertaining match featuring two goalkeepers in shorts, horror movie theme music and dancing referees.

France too strong for Hungary
REVIEW: France won fifth place in the final EHF EURO 2014 ranking with a 26:25 victory against Hungary in Budapest on Friday.

‘Guerreras’ stun Denmark to take semi-final spot
MATCH REVIEW: A deserved 29:22 win against Denmark in Debrecen on Wednesday earned Spain the remaining semi-final ticket from Main Round Group I.

Denmark and Spain fight for Budapest
PREVIEW: When the final EHF EURO 2014 Main Round matches take place in Debrecen on Wednesday, all eyes will be on Denmark and Spain as they fight for Group I’s remaining semi-final spot.

Hungary’s hopes crushed after defeat against Denmark
MATCH REVIEW: Strategic Denmark have ended Hungary’s dreams of reaching the semi-final, defeating the EHF EURO 2014 co-hosts 23:20 in Main Round Group I in Debrecen.

Ungureanu brilliance helps Romania shock Spain
MATCH REVIEW: Romania have won the first of Group I’s second round matches on Monday, defeating Spain 22:20 in an outstanding defensive and goalkeeping battle.

Norway start main round with a thrilling victory
MATCH REVIEW: Norway emerged the victors in Group I’s second main round match on Saturday, recording a 29:26 win against Spain as their unbeaten EHF EURO 2014 run continues.

The main round begins with big matches in Debrecen
PREVIEW: Undefeated Spain and Norway will meet in their first match of the main round when the next phase of the tournament begins on Saturday.

Spain pull off thrilling win against Hungary
MATCH REVIEW: Spain have taken the last two points up for grabs in Group A thanks to a thrilling 27:26 victory over Hungary.

Determined Poland through to main round
MATCH REVIEW: Russia are out of the EHF EURO and Poland progress to the main round after taking a 29:26 win in a very physical Group A match.

Hungary show their true form and qualify for the main round
MATCH REVIEW: Fans in Audi Arena had something to celebrate on Tuesday as Hungary recorded a 29:23 win against Poland, booking Group A’s second ticket to the main round.

Spain first in Group A to make it to main round
MATCH REVIEW: Tuesday’s first Group A match ended with a 25:24 victory to Spain, who have now qualified for the main round and leave Russia to determine their fate on Thursday.

Russia keen to build on promising draw
PREVIEW: Close matches are expected in Tuesday’s Group A matches, while wins for Norway and Denmark could secure two of Group B’s main round spots for the Scandinavian sides.

Tense match between Hungary and Russia ends in a draw
MATCH REVIEW: Hungary began their EHF EURO 2014 campaign with an exciting 29:29 draw against Group A opponent Russia in Györ on Sunday.

Spain unstoppable against Poland
MATCH REVIEW: Spain recorded a 29:22 win against Poland in the opening Women’s EHF EURO 2014 Group A match in Györ on Sunday.


Women’s March Amsterdam: “It can’t stop after this”

Following the first wave of Women’s Marches around the world in January, there is a clear movement to be observed as more and more women take to their respective streets, squares and social media accounts to have their voice heard. On Saturday I took part in the second Women’s March in Amsterdam (the first was in January, when I was watching from a distance while in a handball bubble in France), and it was inspiring to see and talk to the many different people making the most of the opportunity to use their voice.

There were thousands of women, men and children there, and everyone I spoke to had a different story or motivation for taking part, with many important issues represented. For the Dutch one important subject is the upcoming elections, and the many signs against hatred, racism and promoting the female politicians running give some hope.

Evelyn: “I stand for solidarity and the second chamber elections are next week, and I think if we don’t open our voices a populist party will win next week. For me that’s not a solution, because he’s [Geert Wilders] spreading hatred.”

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Mirte: “I work for an international women’s fund called Mama Cash, and at the previous march we just decided to bring the slogan ‘Pussies against patriarchy’. We put it on the [bike] seat covers so women also take this feeling after the march because it’s so important not just to march, but to take it out on the streets and spread it. We’re here with thousands, but it can’t stop after this.”

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Janne: “I made this sign [‘Pussy is not an insult’] because it really annoys me that my friends – my female friends and my male friends – use ‘pussy’ as a negative thing. I think that it’s really strong to have a pussy and to be a woman, especially now in this age. That’s why I made this sign, to be clear, and I think everyone knows what I mean. I hope they learn a bit from my sign!”

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Yannick: “I’m a part of Rood – the young organisation of the socialist party – and when you look at my sign: I’m against sexism, against racism, I’m against classism and I’m for intersectional feminism. Equal rights for everybody, no matter your gender, your sexuality, the colour of your skin. No matter your income – just equal rights for everybody. That’s why I’m here.”

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Lieske: “I got inspired by my American friends after Trump’s election. They all marched so I was very proud that I picked the right friends! I decided I wanted to join a march in the Netherlands as well. I hope we will make the right decisions here in the elections, and in Europe, for him [gesturing at her baby son].”

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Travel · Travel Diaries: Work Edition

Tournament Travel: Denmark 2015

In December 2015 I travelled back to Denmark – my first home outside Australia – for the 22nd IHF Women’s World Championship. I was based in Kolding then Herning, which was right near the town I once lived in: Ikast, and therefore full of memories and familiar, somewhat dodgy Chinese restaurants.

It had been almost 10 years since I arrived in Ikast as a young hopeful handball player, and I had not been back since leaving, so even walking past familiar landmarks in Herning was wild. Some people complain that Herning is a boring place to be based for a tournament, as many of my colleagues have spent long weeks covering more than one championship there, but I was satisfied simply to find my favourite Danish candy and snacks.

Although the tournament was one of the busiest, it was wonderful to work with the female players. It’s a very different experience interviewing the men and women, and I found many interesting stories – the Tunisian captain who was retiring after 16 years in the national team, Christiane Mwasesa from DR Congo, who is the best-known star from her country and a total sweetheart (though I had to interview her with translation assistance from one of her helpful teammates), and the big-name players I interviewed about their path to the top.

All of my articles written during Denmark 2015 can be found here

Random · Travel

Rainbows, Moroccan trains & Dolly Parton

On the rare days that life as an expat feels a touch overwhelming, I find myself saying: “This would be so much easier if I were home,” though whether that is true I cannot say. 

Today, as I busily hunt for a new apartment in Amsterdam, where demand is high and it can sometimes be quite discouraging, Google Photos reminded me of a fitting Dolly Parton with a memory from Morocco in 2015. 

“If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” 

I’m sure this is one of the, if not the only rainbow I’ve ever seen that seemed to reach the earth at each end. I could only manage a quick picture on my phone before the train hurried on.

Portfolio · Work

22nd IHF Women’s World Championship, Denmark 2015

A collection of my articles written during the 22nd IHF Women’s Handball World Championship held in Denmark in December 2015. From December 3 to 21 I was based in Kolding then Herning, covering preliminary round Groups A and C, the knock-out round and finals. 

Features and interviews:
The Influence of Positive Coaching at Denmark 2015
Denmark 2015: Coaches, players and psychologists discuss the importance of a positive, equal relationship between athletes and their coaches.

To the stars of tomorrow
Denmark 2015: Bulatovic, Gullden, Achruk and Chebbah share their advice and stories about how to make it to the top.

“I feel that we can do more”
Denmark 2015: Romania knocked out hosts Denmark to secure their place in the Semi-Finals, but they are not done yet.

“We play with heart; we play for our country”
Denmark 2015: Poland’s Kinga Achruk talks about their Eighth-Final win against Hungary, and the importance of the bond within the team.

Toumi Bids Farewell to the Tunisia Jersey
Denmark 2015: After an incredible 18 years representing Tunisia, Raja Toumi played her final match for her country in Herning on Monday.

The story of Mwasesa
Denmark 2015: The story of a girl from DR Congo, who became one of the most successful players in the French league and the captain of her national team.

“Physical strength will be the key to success”
Denmark 2015: Korea coach Young Chul Lim talks tactics, the future of his team and the road to Rio 2016.

The Group Phase Wrap-Up
Denmark 2015: Summary and key statistics as the final matches of the preliminary round finish and the knock-out round begins.

Argentina’s Big Year Continues
Denmark 2015: This year Argentina have celebrated two Olympic qualifications, and increasingly stronger performances from their national teams.

Kolding welcomes the handball world
Denmark 2015: The city of Kolding adds the 2015 IHF Women’s World Championship to its already strong history of handball-mania.

Continued Focus on Pivot Contact at Denmark 2015
The final countdown for the 22nd IHF Women’s World Championship has begun as referees complete their last preparations.

Previews and reviews:
Grimsbø Shines as Norway Claim the Title
Denmark 2015: Norway defeat the Netherlands to become world champions and the holders of all three major international titles for the second time.

Neagu Leads Romania to Bronze
Denmark 2015: Romania continued their strong form to claim the bronze medal with a big win against Poland.

Netherlands Debut in Final Against Experienced Norway
Denmark 2015: The Final promises a fast-paced 60 minutes between the Olympic and European champions and rampaging Netherlands.

Norway Win 70-Minute Contest for Final
Denmark 2015: Norway defeat Romania in extra time to book their place in the Final, where they will meet the Netherlands.

Romania take on the Olympic champions
Denmark 2015: The second Semi-Final at the 22nd IHF Women’s Handball World Championship sees Romania meet Norway in the battle for the Final.

Poland and Romania Through to Semi-Finals
Denmark 2015: Poland and Romania record one-goal wins with electric performances in their Quarter-Finals, against the Russian Federation and Denmark.

Quarter-Finals Preview: Herning
Denmark 2015: The Quarter-Final matches in Jyske Bank BOXEN see Poland meet the undefeated Russian Federation and Romania take on hosts Denmark.

Poland and Montenegro Book Quarter-Final Spots
Denmark 2015: The first Eighth-Final in Herning ends in a victory for Poland, before Montenegro knock out Angola with a big win.

Eighth-Finals Preview: Monday 14 December
Denmark 2015: Poland play in-form Hungary, Angola meet Montenegro, Spain and France expect a high-voltage 60 minutes and Korea take on the might of Russia.

Eighth-Finals Review: Kolding and Herning
Denmark 2015: The hosts knock Sweden out in the all-Scandinavian Eighth-Final, and Romania shock Brazil to snatch a Quarter-Final berth.

Group C Review: Friday 11 December
Denmark 2015: Korea claim the last remaining Eighth-Finals spot, Brazil secure first place in the group and Germany defeat DR Congo.

Group A Review: Friday 11 December
Denmark 2015: Montenegro secure first place with a win against Denmark, Hungary finish second and Serbia are fourth as Group A wraps up.

Group A Preview: Friday 11 December
Denmark 2015: On the last day of group phase matches, Montenegro, Hungary and Denmark all have the chance to top the table.

Group C Preview: Friday 11 December
Denmark 2015: France and Brazil battle for the top spot, Korea face Argentina in a must-win match and Germany look set for a win against DR Congo.