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10.03.2015, 07:30
Dario Polman: Like sister, like brother
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RISING STARS OF 2015: Estavana Polman and her brother Dario are household names in Dutch handball. While the former is already making her mark internationally, the latter is just about to follow
 

Dario Polman: Like sister, like brother

They started playing handball at the age of three in their Dutch hometown of Arnhem.

Meanwhile, they have both become leading players at their respective clubs, each wearing jersey no. 79.

The careers of 22-year-old Dario Polman (Targos Bevo HC) and his 15-minute-younger twin sister Estavana (Team Esbjerg) have followed a very similar path.

"You couldn’t call it real handball as it was more playing around with a ball. But we never wanted to do anything else," Dario Polman says about the endless hours of throwing balls at each other as little kids.

"We improved step by step and reached a level where it was obvious we both had some talent for this game.

"We kept practicing a lot together, trying out tricks in the garden behind our house. Nowadays we still have very similar qualities and the same style as playmakers, always with full commitment and motivation."

Slowly stepping up

However, there is one difference. While Estavana Polman continued her career in Denmark when she joined SonderjyskE at the age of 18, her brother Dario decided to remain in the Dutch Eredivisie.

"I was playing with Swift Arnhem back then and to go abroad would have been too big a step. I wanted to play, I didn’t want to sit on the bench somewhere.

"That’s why I chose a top club (Targos Bevo HC) in the Netherlands. I have been developing well here and maybe in one, two years, I want to go abroad as well. It’s definitely my ambition."

Denmark or the second Bundesliga in Germany could be his first destinations, but he is not spending much time now thinking about his future. He has just returned to action after a torn hamstring kept him sidelined for 15 weeks.

"It was a tough injury but I worked hard on my recovery to get 100 per cent fit again," he says – Polman had also missed parts of last season after suffering from an ankle injury.

"I’m very fanatic. Injuries are part of the sport and I always try to recover as soon as possible. I won’t let my head down, that’s not in my character."

Winning mentality

In his first year with the Targos Bevo HC, Polman helped them winning their first national championship. This season, Bevo played in the BENE-League, a joint Belgian-Dutch competition, while the club from Panningen is also still in the race to successfully defend its Dutch title.

"Bevo had always been a neat club. Last year, they brought in myself, keeper Bart Ravensbergen and coach Martin Vlijm.

"We added some extra aggressiveness to the team, gave it a winning mentality," he says. "We have reached the final of the BENE-League this season and started the play-offs for the Dutch title with four victories in five matches."

Talent of the Year

Dario Polman was named Talent of the Year by the Dutch Handball Federation in 2012.

The following year he led the national under-21 team with 45 goals in nine matches to an historic fifth place at the World Championships in Bosnia-Herzogovina.

He received his first nomination for the senior national team in October 2013.

Even though Netherlands started the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification with defeats against powerhouses Norway and Croatia, he is looking forward to the two upcoming matches against Turkey at the end of April and the beginning of May.

"Playing Turkey away is going to be a very tough match but we have to win both games.

"It’s a shame there are not enough financial resources in the Netherlands to be able to train a lot together.

"If you look at our generation, we finished fifth at the World Championships after we had a lot of training days together and became a real team. Other nations train a lot more than we do.

"If we want to get to the European top, we’ll have to train more with the national team. Otherwise we’ll always end up short."

Photos: Dutch Handball Federation


The rising handball stars of 2015

Part 1: Niko Mindegia (ESP) / Pick Szeged: "I dream of playing at the next EHF EURO"

Part 2: Kentin Mahé (FRA) / HSV Hamburg: Walking proudly in his father's steps

Part 3: Sander Sagosen (NOR) / Aalborg Handball: "I want to be the best in the world"

Part 4: Nikola Bilyk (AUT) / Fivers WAT Margareten: "Dreaming of becoming handball's Michael Jordan"

Part 5: Michal Szyba (POL) / Gorenje Velenje: A 'watchmaker' on his way to the peak

Part 6: Michal Kasal (CZE) / Futebol Clube do Porto: A new Jicha on the horizon

Part 7: Nikola Portner (SUI) / Kadetten Schaffhausen: A new ambassador for Swiss handball

 


TEXT: Eric Willemsen / ts
 
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