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15.11.2011, 00:36
Ready to fight for European gold
«Go back »Print Version


Sergej Shelmenko’s successful debut for Russia at the Four Nations Tournament in Gdańsk, Poland.

»EHF Euro Events Channel »2012 Men's News
»
 

Ready to fight for European gold

Left-hander Shelmenko started to play for Russian champions Chekhovskie Medvedi back in the season of 2009/2010, and since then he´s been one of the main pillars of coach Vladimir Maximov´s team.

The 28-year-old Ukrainian-born player was eligible to play for the Sbornaja for the first time two weeks ago at the Four Nations Tournament in Gdańsk, Poland.

The right-back shares his thoughts about his debut and also gives an insight about his personal and National Team aims at the upcoming EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia.

ehf-euro.com: You´ve just debuted in the Russian National Team jersey. How did you feel during the tournament in Poland?

Sergej Shelmenko: I spent three years without playing for a national team, waiting for permission to play for the Russian national team. Now, I’ve had a taste of something new, and I liked it!

ehf-euro.com: Were there any efforts from Ukraine to retain you for their country?

Sergej Shelmenko: Since my last matches for Ukraine in November 2008 their authorities did nothing to prevent me moving to Russia. I made a decision to play for Russia and nothing could stop me.

ehf-euro.com: What´s your reflection on the final match against Poland, which ended as a draw?

Sergej Shelmenko: It was like a win for us. It’s a good sign for the team on the way to EHF EURO 2012. Unfortunately, in the second half of the game I hit my head hard and couldn’t help my team-mates in the dramatic final minutes.

ehf-euro.com: Russia are not qualified yet for the Olympics, and the team´s last chance is a good performance at the EHF EURO in Serbia. How do you and your team-mates cope with this pressure?

Sergej Shelmenko: There is no pressure because we know well our main target: Olympic qualification. We have to work on our ‘bugs’, though, such as our weakness towards the end of games.

ehf-euro.com: Please tell us a few words about your group phase opponents, France, Hungary and Spain. What are their strengths and possible weaknesses?

Sergej Shelmenko: All our opponents are already in the Olympic qualification tournaments at least. France are a dominant power in the handball world with the perfect defence and a top goalkeeper.

Hungary are a versatile side with excellent wingers and fast play.

Spain are looking a very good and balanced team. We have a real "group of death" with those three counterparts!

ehf-euro.com: You play in Medvedi with most of your National Team colleagues. Do you see it as an advantage or a disadvantage that you play together almost every day throughout the year?

Sergej Shelmenko: We’re all human, and can sometimes become tired of our colleagues as we are training, not only in the club, but also in the National Team.

But at the same time we have more possibilities to work on the common elements of play. There are always pros and cons with this situation.

ehf-euro.com: In the Medvedi team you replaced Konstantin Igropulo who moved to Barcelona. Right now you play at the same position of right-back in Russian team. What is your relationship with him like?

Sergej Shelmenko: We substitute each other in the games and spend equal time on the court. Kostya is a great guy, so I see no problem with our relationship. We all play for Russia.

ehf-euro.com: What are your personal hopes in the Russian NT at the continental event and what goals has your NT coach Mr. Maksimov set for Serbia?

Sergej Shelmenko: All the time our coach says that we have enough chances to be in the Olympic qualification. If we need to win at the EHF EURO 2012 in order to qualify for the 2012 Olympics, then we are ready to fight for the European title as well!

Further information

Download the Official EHF EURO 2012 Playing Schedule (pdf)

Buy your EHF EURO 2012 tickets HERE.

Ticketing is managed by the Serbian Organising Committees. Should you need further assistance for buying your tickets, please contact via email: tickets@rss.org.rs

Find more information on the tournament on the official website www.ehf-euro.com/SRB2012/

Join the growing community of fans of the event on Facebook www.facebook.com/SRB2012


TEXT: Márk Hegedüs / Артём Шмельков
 
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