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17.03.2015, 17:40
Dejan Malinovic is ready for the big splash
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RISING STARS OF 2015: The 22-year-old right back was among the best at Bosnia-Herzegovina’s World Championship debut, and he believes that this team has what it takes to compete with the best
 

Dejan Malinovic is ready for the big splash

When Bosnia-Herzegovina was still part of Yugoslavia, Bosnian players played a huge role in the success-laden history of Yugoslav handball.

However, it was success that temporarily eluded the nation after it became independent. Nowadays – two months after the men’s national team celebrated its debut at the World Championship 2015 in Qatar – there seems to be a generation of players rising up the ranks that is ready to compete with the world’s best.

And one of the players shining the most is right back Dejan Malinovic.

"The World Championship was a spectacular, amazing and unforgettable experience. I feel bad because we didn’t qualify for the knockout stages (Bosnia Herzegovina eventually finished 21st), but this was our debut and for the first time it was quite good.

"It is a strong base on which we can build some better results in the future. We have a young generation with a good future," says the 23-year-old powerful left-handed shooter.

Bosnia-Herzegovina made impressive progress since head coach Dragan Markovic took over in 2011.

Markovic gave valuable court time to young players such as Senjamin Buric, Dejan Malinovic, Josip Peric and Faruk Vrazalic and the results proved worth the risk.

In June 2014 Bosnia Herzegovina beat Iceland in the World Championship Play-offs for Qatar 2015.

Furthermore the team’s campaign at the EHF EURO 2016 Qualification has been a promising one to date with a 25:25 draw against Belarus and only a narrow 23:25 loss against EHF EURO 2014 silver medallists Denmark.

"I think that we will show to our neighbours, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia, that we can also play top handball.

"I strongly believe that this generation can make a big impact in the coming years,” says Malinovic, who plays for French team US Creteil.

It is his first season in the French league. After having started his career in his home country, he played for RK Maribor Branik in Slovenia as well as Meshkov Brest in Belarus before he moved to France.

"I’m satisfied with my performance in my first French season. The league is so strong, very competitive and most of the teams are on the same level. You can beat, but also lose against anyone.

"I had ups and downs recently, but that is normal for any young guy. The most important thing is that Creteil found their rhythm after a weak start to the season.

"The team consists of young guys and some more experienced players. The next season could be ours."

Career and private advice

Malinovic, who was born in Banja Luka, the city which is known in the handball world because of local club RK Borac, is looking forward to achieving his dreams in professional handball.

"I’m always taking it step by step. My dream is to play in the VELUX EHF Champions League, of course. Hard work is the only option on that way, but I see myself in some of the top teams in next few years."

Malinovic was born in 1992 just after the golden years of RK Borac, who won the Champions Cup in 1976 and the IHF Cup 1991, had come to an end, but there are still some local handball players that he looks up to.

"I had no specific idol but one I saw very often was Mladen Bojinovic. He was also born in Banja Luka, so I and the other Banja Luka’s kids were trying to achieve his level.

"It is never easy to grow up in the city with a lot of living handball legends. You will always stay in the shadow, no matter how good you play, but there are also a lot of positive sides. For example, I got a lot of useful advice for my sports and private life."

"But the one player I adore the most is (French international) Jerome Fernandez. He is absolutely amazing, a perfect player, a role model for me, and not only for me."

After playing in Banja Luka’s youth teams, Malinovic turned his way of life to professional handball when he joined RK Izvidjac in Ljubuski.

"I began to play handball 10 years ago, but the most important period in my career is linked with Izvidjac.

"I had great coaches, Josip Glavas and Ilija Puljevic among them, who built my sense for handball and corrected a lot of things in my play. I can say that they made the most of what is Dejan Malinovic today."

Photos: Qatar 2015


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

Part 8: Dario Polman (NED) / Targos Bevo HC: Like brother, like sister

Part 9: Filip Ivic (CRO) / PPD Zagreb: A ‘Zagreb kid’ dreams of winning the EHF Champions League


TEXT: Zika Bogdanovic / ts
 
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