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16.10.2018, 16:00
With home EHF EURO looming, Ekdahl du Rietz returns for Sweden
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FEATURE: Four years after retiring from the Swedish national team, Kim Ekdahl du Rietz plans a comeback - with EHF EURO 2020 and the Tokyo Olympics in the back of his mind
 

With home EHF EURO looming, Ekdahl du Rietz returns for Sweden

Four years after saying “goodbye” to the Swedish national team, Kim Ekdahl du Rietz is saying “hello again.”

The 29-year-old left back took a break from handball all together after the 2016/17 season. Nine months later he returned to his former club, Rhein-Neckar Löwen, before moving to Paris Saint-Germain this season.

Now Ekdahl du Rietz plans another comeback: he is set to play for Sweden again, first against Spain on 24 October and then against Austria four days later in the two opening games of the newly introduced EHF EURO Cup.

“This is the first time I actually really want to play with the national team,” Ekdahl du Rietz tells ehf-euro.com. “Before, I used to go but I was not really looking forward to it. Whereas now, things are different, especially since this is my choice and my decision.”

“The EHF EURO at home will be really special”

After turning his back on handball last year, Ekdahl du Rietz insists that he won’t be changing his mind this time.

“I think the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020 are something that really attracts me. It changed everything in my mind,” says the Olympic silver medallist from 2012, adding that he is also looking forward to other events, like the EHF EURO 2020, which will be co-hosted by Sweden alongside Norway and Austria.

“Some competitions are now really attractive, atmosphere-wise,” he says. “The next World Championship will be played in Germany, which is the home of handball, in front of fans who will be mad for it. And of course, playing the EHF EURO at home, in front of our fans, will be something really special.”

“The challenge is very exciting”

If Ekdahl du Rietz makes it to EHF EURO 2020, it will be his first competition in his home country since the World Championship 2011, where Sweden finished fourth.

“It will be like coming full circle,” the left back says. “I remember that 2011 was the first time I actually had a role to play with the national team. And it was special, playing not so far from where I’m from. This is something I still remember, like a cornerstone in my career.”

Asked about the motivation for his comeback in the national team, Ekdahl du Rietz says “the challenge is very exciting, with the home EHF EURO and the Olympics in 2020.” He is also really looking forward to playing with his former teammates again, after paying them a visit in Zagreb last January when they reached the final of EHF EURO 2018.

“I have got some very good friends in the team and they play handball very well together,” he says. “I really want to go and work with them and see what can come out of it.”

Photo credit: Joakim Leihed


TEXT: Kevin Domas / ew
 
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