The Hungarian beach handball side Agenta Girls literally went from zero to hero at last year’s ebt Finals and look forward to repeat that feat in Thessaloniki
No pressure in Thessaloniki for defending champions Agenta Girls
Last year in May, it was the first time that Hungarian side Agenta Girls participated in an ebt Finals tournament and after topping the podium straight away in their first appearance, they are looking at yet another podium finish at the ebt Finals in Thessaloniki on the weekend (20 to 22 May). And the biggest advantage they consider to be on their side: they feel no pressure.
“The ebt Finals are a very strong competition in which almost everybody has a chance to win, nevertheless our aim is to get hold of the gold medal,” says head coach János Gróz.
“This tournament is very important for us for various reasons: first of all, of course, we would like to win. Secondly, I would like to know at which stage we are in terms of preparations for the World Championship.”
Hungary hosts the World Beach Handball Championship from 12 to 17 July and with Ágnes Győri, Kitti Gróz, Fruzsina Kretz and Renáta Csiki the Agenta Girls’ squad features several players that won the European Championship last year and reached the final of the World Championship in 2014. Gróz is also the head coach of the women’s national team.
“Hosting the World Championship and building our team at the same time makes our situation a little bit complicated. We travel to Thessaloniki with a team that combines experienced players with some new names. The average age is actually only 22,” says Gróz.
“I would like to test our players in challenging situations and measure their physical condition and their mental preparation at the start of the season.
“Finally we cannot ignore the fact that we can have a look at our national team’s opponents in match situations. Even though it is the start of the season and every team is in a different condition. I have the feeling that the Polish and Spanish teams are capable of high level performance.”
In Group A at Thessaloniki the Agenta Girls meet Westsite from the Netherlands, Detono Zagreb from Croatia, the Beachqueens from Switzerland and CAIPIranhas from Germany. The first two teams of both groups advance to the semi-finals.
The Agenta Girls were 11 years ago and played their first beach handball matches in 2005. There have been some changes over the last 11 years, but their enthusiasm has not changed.
So far the fact that a lot of players are also members of the Hungarian national team has limited the members’ availabilities which is the reason why they have not participated in ebt Finals earlier.
But the wild card they received last year changed everything and now they have tasted success, they don’t want to miss out on it at the ebt Finals in Thessaloniki.
TEXT: Krisztina Deak / ts
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