Croatian coaching legend Lino Cervar enjoys the European Beach Handball Championships in his home town of Umag.
Cervar: “A spectacular show event!”
At the European Beach Handball Championships in Umag/CRO everybody smiles at Lino Cervar. The Umag resident is one of the biggest coaching profiles in handball. Six times he led the Croatian national team to a final of European or World Championships, he has won Olympic gold and the world champion title. In addition, he won 16 national titles in three nations as a club coach.
These days Cervar is very curiously following the major Beach Handball tournament in Umag, as he told eurohandball.com
eurohandball.com: Is this your first close contact with Beach Handball?
Lino Cervar: It is the first time that I can study it so intensely, and I must say it is an extremely attractive sport. It takes place in summer on beaches – everybody loves that, but it is also very fascinating to watch the athletes.
eurohandball.com: So how is your impression of the sport?
Lino Cervar: It is extremely dynamic; there is an exceptional amount of movement in a very small space, including a lot of position changes. I remember that once basketball used to be the sport that could be described like that. But in the last 15 years handball has developed rapidly and has definitely overtaken basketball in this characteristic. Beach Handball takes all of that and adds a lot of speed – that makes this an attractive sport for spectators and fans. I have overheard conversations of people in the stands, they all just love it.
eurohandball.com: Where do you see the biggest differences between indoor and Beach Handball?
Lino Cervar: Let me start with one thing that is similar: the playmaker is the most important person on court, he is responsible for the concept of each attack, his ideas are crucial, success is dependent on him as well as on his team-mates as pass recipients. But what differs from indoor is that every attack is played with one player up. So the teams that know how to take advantage from this are the successful ones.
eurohandball.com: If you were a young player – would you play Beach Handball?
Lino Cervar: There is a good chance I would. For young people this is a great sport. Maybe one day there will be European Beach Handball Championships for veterans – then I could finally have a go.
eurohandball.com: Why is Beach Handball so popular in Croatia?
Lino Cervar: In general the handball national team is very popular, not only because of the handball tradition but of course very much due to the success of the team at major tournaments. Many people watch the games on TV, it is as big as football. The Croatian Beach Handball national team does not have the “big names” like for instance Balic and Duvnjak, the team consists of other players. These might be known locally, but in the big handball world they are rather “unknown” as players. Still, they have been playing together for several years, having had a lot of training sessions and having participated at numerous tournaments together. So these so called “unknown” players have developed a high-class level in Beach Handball. This leads to success – and that leads to popularity.
eurohandball.com: What do you like most here at this tournament in Umag?
Lino Cervar: The scenic surroundings in which the stadiums are embedded. But also everything around the matches – the atmosphere, the music, everybody is enthusiastic and happy, just great.
eurohandball.com: How do you see the future of Beach Handball?
Lino Cervar: First of all I believe that Beach Handball and tourism must form a strong synergy. This sport has always got to be connected with a beautiful place and a relaxed atmosphere. In addition to that the show elements are an essential part, take the music that is playing everywhere – even during the matches – as an example. This is a young sport, and young people need to be entertained. But the people involved in the project of developing Beach Handball are well aware of that, and know that they will always have to bring in new ideas. On another level I very much support the vision of Beach Handball becoming an Olympic discipline. Spectacular show events, that is something, which the Olympic Games need, too. If the sport was seen all over the planet, I am convinced that people in Africa, America and everywhere would start to play Beach Handball. Wonderful!
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