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15.07.2016, 15:08
Augustinussen reaches for the stars – but at moderate pace
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RISING STARS #1: A key player at KIF Kolding Kobenhavn already, Danish right wing Sebastian Augustinussen has all reason to believe that his time to shine will come – and maybe already at the Men’s 20 EHF EURO on home ground
 

Augustinussen reaches for the stars – but at moderate pace

When Sebastian Augustinussen enters the Sydbank Arena in Kolding on 28 July for the first match of the Men’s 20 EHF EURO, he can look back on a year in which things went faster than expected.

This feature is part of an eight-part series that will look at players to watch out for, handball's rising stars, at the Men's 20 EHF EURO which is played from 28 July to 7 August in Denmark.

Injuries to the experienced Kasper Irming and Simon Jensen meant that Augustinussen became first-choice right wing at KIF Kolding Kobenhavn – in the Danish league as well as in the VELUX EHF Champions League. Suddenly, at just 19, Augustinussen was right in the spotlight.

“There is no doubt that I have gained a lot of self-confidence by playing in the Champions League and also by playing two tight semi-finals in the Danish championship’s play-offs. This has granted me with experience you cannot achieve through training.

“You cannot train how to react in crucial situations under pressure in important games at top level. The fact that I have tried all this has done me well, and I’m sure that I will benefit from this at the (Men’s 20 EHF) EURO,” says Augustinussen who turned 20 in May.

When he and his Danish teammates open the tournament against the Netherlands, Augustsinussen will be on home ground in more than one sense of the word.

Sydbank Arena is one of KIF Kolding Kobenhavn’s two home grounds, the Brøndbyhallen close to Copenhagen being the other.

“Playing at Sydbank Arena will be a double advantage, as it is also my home ground at club level. I’m sure we will get some extra support from the crowd, and I’m sure that we can fill the arena for our matches, considering the fact that we are three KIF players in the squad,” he says.

Besides himself, his KIF teammates Nikolaj Enderleit and Jens Svane Peschardt are also part of the Danish squad. 

Among the favourites

Augustinussen says without hesitating that he sees Denmark as one of the favourites at the Men’s 20 EHF EURO.

“We have quite a few players who have a lot of league experience already. I know that some of the other nations have this, too, but I believe that we will benefit more, simply because the Danish league is stronger than most other leagues, except the German and the French one,” he says.

Apart from Augustinussen, goalkeeper Emil Nielsen from Aarhus Handball, playmaker Lasse Møller from GOG and line player Allan Toft Hansen from Mors-Thy Handball – the younger brother of Danish senior internationals René and Henrik Toft Hansen – are the players with the most experience from the Danish league.

“I expect France to be our strongest rivals for the title. They have won the (under 18) EURO and the (under 19) World Championship in the past two years, so they are obviously strong contenders. However, I also expect a team like Slovenia to play a part.

“I know they played very well (and won silver) at the World Championship last year. I was injured at the time, so I did not get the chance to see them play myself, but from what I have heard, they are very strong too.”

Denmark came seventh at the Youth World Championship 2015 and finished fourth at the Men’s 18 EHF EURO.

Ambitious, but patient

Considering how far things have come for him the past season year, it would sound natural for Augustinussen to have high ambitions.

And he has them but he also reveals a very mature and patient attitude when he talks about them.

“First of all, it is my ambition that my team and I play a good EURO. After that, I’m looking forward to improving at KIF over the next couple of years.

“Considering the new signings the club made, I’m sure we are heading for new high in KIF, and I’m looking forward to being a part of that.

“Now that I have finished school, I can concentrate 100 per cent on developing as a handball player, and that is great,” says Sebastian Augustinussen.

“Of course, I will be hilariously happy if I make the senior team one day, but I cannot say that it is a goal for me yet. “I do not want to risk disappointing myself by setting my mind on the senior team, and then I don’t make it.

“I prefer enjoying it, if and when it happens!”

Photos: EHF / DHF


TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
 
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