FEATURE: The OVB-Beach Girls are ready for their sixth consecutive ebt Final and are hoping to defend their 2014 title on home sand
OVB-Beach Girls: Winning above all
The OVB Beach Girls have played in every ebt Final since 2009 and have medalled every season, winning their first gold in 2014.
Now, the Hungarian national champions aim to defend their title and win the gold medal again – this time at home, when the European Beach Handball Tour Finals take place at Budaörs, Hungary this coming weekend (22 to 25 May).
A new season with new players
The OVB-Beach Girls took up beach handball more than 10 years ago. The founders of the team created a strong bond within the team, where friendship is most important. They firmly believe this is the secret of their success.
This season OVB will welcome new members as two players are out with injuries. In addition, their usual goalkeepers have missed the regular season but will return for the ebt Finals.
There are changes and starting a new year is always difficult, but the Beach Girls are determined to do their best to finish on top at the weekend.
"The ebt Finals are a very strong competition where nobody knows who can win. It is the start of the season and every team is in different condition.
"Naturally there are favourites – from Spain, Greece and Hungary – but mostly the teams depend heavily on physical and mental preparation, which can vary during this period," says Judit Jonas, one of the club’s founders.
Playing at home
The OVB-Beach Girls were founded in 2002, with the team becoming Hungarian champions that same year. Since then they have benefitted from increasing experience, including how to perform well in front of a home crowd.
"We are excited about playing in Budaörs. We had wonderful experiences in Spain (at the 2014 Champions Cup in Gran Canaria) last year where a lot of fans supported us and we felt at home.
"I hope this tournament will be the same and our Hungarian friends and fans will visit and help us from the stands. I think the Hungarian organisers will do their best and it will be a high-level event," said Jonas.
The members of OVB Beach Girls also play indoor handball in the second or third Hungarian league and devote the summer break to playing beach handball – but they have not had long to practice on sand before the final.
The weather did not allow OVB to train in Hungary, whereas the teams from southern parts of Europe were able to start their preparation period in the sand weeks earlier.
The Beach Girls believe the pre-tournament in Budaörs on Tuesday and Wednesday will give them a chance to train before the start on Friday.
They have been drawn to Group A alongside BHT Piotrkowianin Juko Piotrków Trybunalski from Poland, Detono Zagreb from Croatia, Westsite from Netherlands and the Swiss Beachqueens.
The first two teams of Groups A and B qualify for the semi-finals which will be played on Sunday, 24 May. All matches from the main court on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will be streamed live.
TEXT: Krisztina Deak / cg / ts
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