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01.08.2013, 16:02
The rising stars of the Women's EHF EURO: Anna Vyakhireva and Daria Dmitrieva
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The final part of the series looks at the Russian duo with a clear goal for Denmark
 

The rising stars of the Women's EHF EURO: Anna Vyakhireva and Daria Dmitrieva

Russian women's handball is known for being a consistent producer of big handball talents, but the current under-19 national team is the special one.

The Women’s 17 EHF EURO 2011 winner and Youth World championship runner-up have got a number of bright stars of this generation in their squad.

Two of them, both born in 1995, Anna Vyakhireva and Daria Dmitrieva are the real headliners of Vyacheslav Kirilenko’s experienced squad.
 
Anna Vyakhireva: latest star in a handball family

Anna started playing handball at her sister's training sessions at the age of six. She took the ball and began to shoot.

“I couldn't imagine myself outside of handball. No other sport attracted me so much. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my one year in music school was a disaster for me and my teachers,” explained Vyakhireva.

Anna's older sister is Polina Kuznetsova, 2007 world champion and a member of the All-Star team at the EHF EURO 2012. Her father, Victor Vyakhirev, is a women's handball coach, he's on duty with the Zvezda Zvenigorod youth team.

Daria Dmitrieva: a career shaped by an early move

Her mother wanted her to become a dancer, but her father, a former ice-hockey player, was sure that Daria should practice sport.

Her hometown Togliatti is well-known for a women's handball school and at the age of eight, Daria came to watch the local tournament and fell in love with handball.

She had luck to train under Irina Kos, but when the coach decided to leave, Daria and some of her teammates had a hard choice to make – to leave their parents and to join the other Russian handball center in Volgograd.

Daria was a 14-year-old when she made that decision in 2009 alongside Dmitrieva, Karina Pavlova, Evgenia Petrova and Ksenia Karpachova, all of whom are in the squad playing in Denmark.

Team leaders

Two years ago in Czech Republic at the Women’s 17 EHF EURO coach Vyacheslav Kirilenko gave starring roles to Vyakhireva and Dmitrieva.

Anna Vyakhireva had a minor injury in the semi-final against Hungary, but was chosen for the final in a psychological move by the coach

Anna spent the entire match on the bench, coming on only to take penalties, but helped a lot to maintain the team spirit and in the end Russia got the title in a thrilling game against Denmark.

Russia and Denmark met again in the final of the Youth World Championship in Montenegro last summer. Anna Vyakhireva and Daria Dmitrieva once again lead the team throughout the tournament, leading the team in goals and assists.

Anna was outstanding in the final, scoring 8 goals, while Daria made a great impact in the second half.

The last minute was a huge disappointment for the whole team and personally for Vyakhireva, who missed Russia’s last shot in their defeat.

Domestic experience

Both Vyakhireva and Dmitrieva had a good season under their belts in the teams of Russian club handball elite Zvezda and Dinamo Volgograd.

Dmitrieva got the chance to shine in the main squad thanks to injuries and retirements.

“It makes no difference to me what position in the back court I have to play in. As center back I have to work more with the pivot, as left or right back I can dribble and shoot,” said Dmitrieva.

Dinamo Volgograd won the Russian title for the fifth time in a row last season, Dmitrieva’s second title, but she had much more of an impact on the team this time around.

Anna Vyakhireva entered her senior team at the beginning of the 2011/12 season, but a knee injury stunted her run in the team.

Sights set on gold

After a surgery on her meniscus, she went right into the deep end with training for the youth national team in June.

“My physical condition was awful, but step by step I returned to my usual level. I'm also glad that our playmaker Nelly Pankovichenko also came back after one year recovering from injury and an unsuccessful surgery,” explained Vyakhireva.

The goal is clear in Denmark: win gold. The last team meet-up was an international tournament in France where Vyacheslav Kirilenko and his girls gained three wins out of three against Norway, France and Romania.

“All our thoughts are about Denmark. We pay respect to all teams, but we aim to get revenge for the World Championship loss last year,” concluded Dmitrieva.

Further information 

All 56 Women’s EHF EURO 2013 matches will be streamed live by Danish channel Kanal Sport, the stream can be found on the official event website between 1 and 11 August.


TEXT: Artem Shmelkov / cor
 
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