Travel · Travel Diaries: Work Edition

Tournament travel: Algiers, Algeria

The 2017 summer of handball tournaments began in Algiers, Algeria in July. The concentration of competitions taking place over the summer has meant a busy couple of months for me from July to September since 2015, when I covered my first Men’s Junior World Championship, followed by the Youth World Championship. This year the Junior World Championship was held in Algiers, after which I travelled to Tbilisi, Georgia for the Men’s Youth World Championship.

In Algiers we stayed in a hotel with an incredible view across the city, overlooking a concert venue which treated me to live music many nights after I had finished coverage for the day. One hot, sunny morning was spent exploring parts of the city on a guided tour, where we visited the Kasbah and the Matyr’s Memorial. The Memorial du Martyr Mujahid Museum was a sad, but interesting and clear highlight of the day and visit to Algiers overall.

Travel Diaries: Work Edition

Tournament Travel: Hungary 2014

Last December, I reached the end of a full cycle of major international handball competitions. My very first, now more than two and a half years ago, was the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 in Hungary, where I was based in Györ, Debrecen then Budapest as journalist for the official website.

When I landed in Budapest, from where I would travel on to Györ by car, I had little idea of what to expect. And I have since learned that feeling does not go away no matter how many competitions I cover — while also learning I can always expect challenging, rewarding weeks that teach me so much I am a different person at the end. The other thing I found in Hungary, which has never disappointed me at any tournament, is that I will be surrounded by inspiring, smart, driven, fun people throughout all of it. Working in such an environment is a huge part of what makes those weeks from the first match to the trophy presentation so wonderful.

As it was December when the Women’s EHF EURO 2014 took place, Christmas markets lay in the centre of all three cities, making them even more appealing than they might be ordinarily. In general, Hungarian cities are beautiful, and the places I had not visited prior to this trip — Györ and Debrecen — did not disappoint. But this visit — my second of three so far to the capital — convinced me there is possibly no city that can compare with Budapest.

We had little time to explore in Budapest as we were only there for the final few days, but I did manage a scenic run one morning when I woke up before the sun, when I was able to run along the river up to the castle as the sunrise took place.

From the EHF EURO 2014, I went on to cover every IHF World Championship and senior EHF EURO since, though I stepped up to editor of the official website for EHF EURO at the last two events (Poland, January 2016; Sweden, December 2016) and hope to reprise that role in the future.

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