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18.10.2013, 10:59
Ida Alstad looks forward to busy schedule
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INTERVIEW: Norway's top scorer in the final of the 2012 European Championship is optimistic ahead of the upcoming qualification matches for the EHF EURO 2014 in Croatia and Hungary.
 

Ida Alstad looks forward to busy schedule

When Norway start the qualification matches for the EHF EURO 2014 with two matches against Romania in Group 6 at the end of this month (23 and 27 October), left back Ida Alstad will have happy personal memories of her last EHF EURO match.

It was the final of the EHF EURO 2012 in front of 10,000 spectators in Belgrade's Kombank Arena. Even though Norway lost 31:34 after double extra-time to Montenegro, Alstad enjoyed personal success by scoring 11 goals.

Now European qualifying matches are on the agenda for her and the rest of the Norwegian internationals, as Romania will be waiting in the first two encounters on the road to the final round in Croatia and Hungary in December next year.

Since the intense final in Belgrade, there have been changes in Alstad's handball life. At the age of 28 she transferred from the club of her childhood and her youth, Byasen in Norway, to ruling EHF Cup winners, Team Tvis Holstebro in Denmark.

eurohandball.com: What do you see as the reason for your personal success, becoming most scoring player with 11 goals in the latest European Championship's final last December?
Ida Alstad: I felt from the start that I had success with my shots, and as they kept going in, it was just a matter of going on trying.

eurohandball.com: What else do you remember from that final?
Ida Alstad: I remember that it was an extremely tough match, where we played four extra halves. That was extremely tough physically, and it was crucial use every break to tank extra physical resources for the next round.

eurohandball.com: This summer you changed from Byasen to Team Tvis Holstebro in Denmark. What has that change been like for you?
Ida Alstad: It has been a really big change. It is a rather different kind of handball which is played here, compared to what I was used to. There is more fight for the positions, the game is more physical and there is a lot of focus on the defence, and we practice a different kinds of 6:0 defence.

The change has been positive for me, though. I had a really great time in Byasen, but it has been good for me to try something new.

eurohandball.com: What made you change?
Ida Alstad: I felt the need to try a different kind of handball. I had played in Byasen since I was four years old, and even though I still felt fine there, it was about time, if I was going to try something new.

eurohandball.com: What has the change meant to your play?
Ida Alstad: It has added new aspects to my play, as I have got adjusted to my role in the team. Here, we focus a lot on passes to the line player and the wings, and in the defence it has been new to me to be in the central defence with attacking backs.

I also strive not to lose my original way of playing, though. It means a lot to me to play in the Norwegian national team, so I do not want to lose my play. For instance, I do not want to lose my shot.

eurohandball.com: Your schedule for the rest of this year will by busy. After the qualification matches for the EHF EURO 2014, the World championship in Serbia is waiting in December, and there are also a lot of Danish league matches as well as EHF Cup Winners' Cup matches with Team Tvis Holstebro coming up. How do you plan to manage all that?
Ida Alstad: I am really looking forward to that. I have finished my education (as a pre-school teacher) recently, but I really cannot have a job here, as Danish children do not understand what I say anyway, so I can focus entirely on playing handball.

And as I simply love to play handball, I am looking forward to all the challenges which are coming up.

eurohandball.com: Some of those challenges will be the two EURO qualifiers against Romania. How do you see your team´s chances there?
Ida Alstad: That will be a couple of tough challenges. Romania have a very strong team, although they seldom perform at championships. Several of their players come from Baia Mare who defeated us from Tvis as well as Viborg in the EHF Champions League qualifiers, and furthermore, there are also a lot of former Oltchim Valcea players, so Romania really have many great players who will be a big challenge to us, but still challenges we should be able to handle.

eurohandball.com: How do you see your chances in the group in general, Belarus being the third team in the group?
Ida Alstad: I do not want to underestimate any opponent, but after all we are Norway, and we should have the aim of winning every match we play. I see the games against Romania as the deciding ones, but we should go for the win in all our matches.

The Norwegian squad for the EURO2014 qualifiers:

Katrine Lunde Györi Audi ETO) Silje Solberg (Stabæk Håndball) Mari Molid (Levanger HK) Stine Bredal Oftedal (Issy Paris) Ida Alstad (Team Tvis Holstebro) Heidi Løke (Györi Audi ETO) Nora Mørk (Larvik HK) Karoline Dyhre Breivang (Larvik HK) Isabel Blanco (Larvik HK) Anja Hammerseng-Edin (Larvik HK) Linn Jørun Sulland (Larvik HK) Veronica Kristiansen (Glassverket IF) Linn-Kristin Riegelhuth-Koren (Larvik HK) Linn Gossé (Tertnes Elite) Maja Jakobsen (Storhamar IF) Sanna Solberg (Stabæk Håndball)


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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