FEATURE: The Danish Handball Federation has appointed Morten Holmen and Gorm Andersen to lead their beach handball teams at the EURO 2017 in Zagreb, Denmark’s first appearance at this level since 2013
Denmark return to the beach – and new coaches feel the pressure
Following a four-year break, Denmark return to the Beach Handball EUROs, and two experienced coaches will be in charge when the teams take to the court in Zagreb in June this year.
The Danish Handball Federation has appointed Morten Holmen as women’s coach and Gorm Andersen as men’s coach.
Holmen was already in charge of the women’s team in 2013 when Denmark last played at the EURO. Overall, he led the women’s team for five years, from 2009 to 2014, steering them to silver at the EUROs in 2011 and 2013 and the World Championships 2010 and 2012.
Gorm Andersen was Oman’s beach handball coach from 2009 to 2011. In 2013 he coached the Danish youth team at the EURO in Randers; one year later he came fourth as coach of Danish men’s team at the World Championship.
Holmen goes on players watch
With only four months to go until the first games of Beach Handball EURO, both coaches feel the pressure straight away.
“We don’t have much time to prepare for the European Championship which takes place already from 20 to 25 June,” Holmen tells eurohandball.com.
“The biggest problem is that the Danish championship does not end until 17 June, so we will not be able to see all of it before we nominate our squad.
“Nevertheless I feel that I have a fairly good idea of the level of the potential national team players, even though we have not had any national team activities for two years.
“I had the opportunity to watch the players on the Beach Tour last year and also some of them in a tournament in Italy, so I don’t feel that I’m starting completely from scratch. Now, it is simply a question of gathering the strongest possible team.
“However, my biggest fear is that I may overlook some player who might actually be good enough for the team, but of whom I’m simply not aware of due to lack of time,” says Holmen.
When it comes to Denmark’s chances at the Beach Handball EURO 2017, Holmen remain cautious.
“We don’t have much time to prepare, and I don’t think you should expect us to become European champions, but the most important thing is that we get started again now, and I hope we get the chance to plan ahead and to get Danish beach handball closer to the top of the world,” he says.
No tradition for long preparations
Men’s coach Gorm Andersen is slightly more optimistic about his team’s chances in Croatia.
“I don’t think we need to fear any opponent. You may say that there are other nations who prepare more thoroughly and for a longer time than we do.
“However, we have never had a tradition for long preparations, and we have still done pretty well,” he says.
“Some of the other teams are further in terms of their development than we are. For instance, more and more goals are scored as in-flights instead of pirouettes, and it takes time to adapt to such a development.
“However, I think we can use quite a lot of the players’ skills from indoor handball here.
“Danish players are known to be technically skilled, and this should be an advantage in beach handball, too.”
Andersen says that the return to the beach will be beneficial to the further development of the sport in Denmark.
“At the same time, I see the international top getting larger and closer, and this makes it even more exciting. Sweden are giving beach handball really high priority now, and Germany also seem to be one of the new nations in the top.
“I expect an extremely interesting European Championship, and I’m sure we will do well, even hough we are pressed for time.”
Photos: Bent Frederiksen / Uros Hocevar
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
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