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06.02.2013, 10:52
The rising handball stars of 2013, part 1: Bogdan Radivojević
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Serbia’s 'Abalo' is looking for success with the EHF EURO 2012 silver medallists
 

The rising handball stars of 2013, part 1*: Bogdan Radivojević

19-year-old Bogdan Radivojević, the youngest player of the Serbian national team at the 2013 World Championship, cannot hide a smile, when he talks about his first international experience in the national team’s jersey.

Despite the Serbian “Eagles” playing only an average tournament that saw the EHF EURO 2012 silver medallists finishing 10th, the arguably biggest handball talent in Serbia will remember the two weeks in the Spanish city of Zaragoza until the end of his professional career.

"A dream came true in Spain. Of course, my biggest wish was to play for my country. I was so proud,“ he says to eurohandball.com

“I was thinking about that moment when I began to play handball. Everything happened so fast. I am only 19, so I didn’t expect to find my place among the best so early.”

Unfortunately, Radivojević ‘s campaign only lasted for two matches as he injured himself on Serbia’s matchday in the encounter against Belarus.

“That stopped me to show more. However, I am happy with my debut. Next time I will know how to react and save myself from this kind of injuries,“ the 19-year-old says who shows no lack of ambitions.

“Things like that come with experience. I have strong faith that this is only the beginning for me of playing for the ‘Eagles’ on the international courts.”

In less than three seasons Radivojević has made his way from RK Partizan’s junior team to the senior team with which he is now eagerly waiting for the continuation of the VELUX EHF Champions League after having scored 32 goals in seven Preliminary Round matches, placing him currently among the Top 25 scorers of the competition.

“I made my debut for the first team two and half years ago. We played against our local rivals, PKB, in the national cup and I was awarded Best Player of the Match.

“Not bad for the first time, not bad at all,” he adds with a smile.

Radivojević started playing handball as a seven-year-old. The son of a family friend played and after being asked Radivojević joined him.

“It wasn't the plan, but from the very first moment I knew that handball is my sport. Back then I was more like a mascot (for the team), because it was a group where the boys were three or four years older than me.

“I just ran from one side of the field to another, but I liked that. I really enjoyed myself from the first minutes in handball.”

But soon his skills in the sport developed and it did not take long until he was nicknamed ‘Abalo’, making reference to the inspirational French right wing.

“He was my only idol when I was a kid and he is the player who I adore to watch.

“People say that my style is pretty close to his. And I worked hard to improve my physical characteristics, especially my jumping abilities.”

Jumping prowess and a 'soft hand'

However, Radivojević remains reluctant to talk himself up too much but gives away his recipe for success.

"I can't talk about myself. I can only repeat what other people talking. They would tell you – speed, jumping prowess and my 'soft‘ hand.

"I don't like to judge myself. I never have some kind of jitters, only positive energy before every match, no matter against whom we play. It’s only a positive attitude that gives you a chance to be always at 100 per cent.

"I have no fear in handball. Handball is just a game for me, and I like to play the game. I have no pressure, I don't put pressure on myself or other people – like my teammates. Relax and enjoy. I like that...“

Radivojević does not like thinking too much ahead. Being asked, he states playing in the German Bundesliga, preferably for one the top clubs from Kiel, Flensburg and Hamburg, as one of his aims.

But it does not stop there.

"To win a medal is the dream of my generation. We will give our best to do that. In Spain we didn't meet our ambitions, but that has to be only a motivation for the future.

And when he mentions his ‘generation’, he rests assured that there are more young Serbian handball talents just waiting to make an impact on the international courts.

“Vanja Ilić, Aleksandar Radovanović and Mijajlo Marsenić, my team-mates from Partizan and the junior's national team. I feel that they can also make something big from their careers,” concludes the Serbian 'Abalo'.


*This is the first part of a new series powered by eurohandball.com. In the weeks to come we will throw the spotlight on the many young handball talents all around Europe that are likely to make an impact on the international stage in the months and years to come.


TEXT: Žika Bogdanović / ts
 
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