Tournat lives Kielce life to the fullest
Nicolas Tournat’s first months in Kielce have become a feel-good story.
The French line player left HBC Nantes, the only club he had played for in his professional career, to join Lomza Vive Kielce this summer.
The move to the East, to the club that won the EHF Champions League in 2016, has been beyond his expectations.
“It is even better than I thought it would be. Everything is so professional. All you have to think about is handball. I am delighted to be in Kielce,” the 26-year-old Tournat says.
“I guess I must be doing OK”
Life away from the court has been easy to settle in, as his older kid is already going to Polish school.
“I must learn Polish quickly, as for me it seems normal to speak the language of the country you play in,” Tournat says.
“It is not that easy, I must admit that after three weeks at school my son is already better than I am, but I am starting to understand everything,” he adds with a smile.
On the court, Tournat has found his rhythm pretty easily in the team of head coach Talant Dujshebaev, also thanks to Artsem Karalek, his Belarusian teammate who played in Saint-Raphaël for a while.
“He helps me as he speaks French, so it is easier for me to understand everything,” Tournat says. “I have not suffered any of Talant’s hair-drying anger outbursts just yet, so I guess I must be doing OK.”
“The win in Elverum was a very serious one”
The French international has scored seven times in Kielce’s EHF Champions League campaign so far, including a five-goal outing in a 31:22 win at Elverum Handball.
“Things are different here from what I knew in Nantes, but only minor different. I think we are, collectively, getting better with every week,” Tournat says.
Kielce have collected four points over the first three rounds, having narrowly lost their season-opener at SG Flensburg-Handewitt.
“That was a disappointment, because I feel like we could have done better,” Tournat says. “But we managed to bounce back quickly against Szeged, and the win in Elverum was a very serious one. So far, we’re pretty satisfied, but we know that the season is going to be a very long one.”
“We know the road to the EHF FINAL4 is a long one”
Kielce’s goals for the season are straightforward: winning the EHF Champions League and winning all domestic competitions. In short: winning everything.
“I think we have the ability to fulfil this goal but winning the EHF Champions League is not going to be easy,” he says. “We know that the road to the EHF FINAL4 is a long one and that there are a lot of teams that have the same goal in mind as we do.”
The French line player seems to be living the Kielce experience at 100 percent. Still, there is one thing he is looking forward to finally see: a full Hala MOSiR, as sanitary restrictions have prevented a packed arena so far.
“The atmosphere against Szeged was already amazing, I could really feel how these guys can help us out in tough games,” Tournat says about the legion of Kielce fans. “But I have seen footage of these guys, they are amazing, I can’t wait until we get to play in front of a packed house. That is going to be so cool.”
Things are different here from what I knew in Nantes, but only minor different. I think we are, collectively, getting better with every week.