20200617 Ehf Euro France Vincent Gerard Axel Heimken

Vincent Gérard raising money for the frontline

Kevin Domas / cor

Vincent Gérard raising money for the frontline

Trying to remain in shape has not been the only occupation for Vincent Gérard during the lockdown. The French national team and PSG goalkeeper has been trying to make a difference while being forced to remain at home.

A fan of auctions, he decided to set up his own, in order to help the people battling with COVID-19 on the frontline.

“The country was almost locked down overnight. I found myself at home, thinking about how I could help people working in hospitals.

“I have no skills as a nurse, but I am a public figure and I happen to know a couple of people in the sports business. So the auction idea came from there.”

Featuring items such as a worn game t-shirt by French tennis player Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, a bib by French former biathlete Martin Fourcade or Luka’s Karabatic jersey from this season’s VELUX EHF Champions League game against Barça, the auction raised more than 100,000 euro. The money will be donated to a charity, making life easier for health workers.

“Some of them travelled from across France to help, leaving their families behind and putting their lives in danger to save the others. This is our very humble way to say thank you,” says Gérard.

Being locked at home for almost two months, the French goalkeeper has had the time to think about how the world will evolve after such a global disaster.

“I am an optimistic person, so I am sure positive things will emerge. People like teachers, nurses, doctors and cashiers are not recognised enough for what they do, while they are key to society.

“They kept the country on their feet during these dark days,” adds Gérard, who admits that coming out at the other end of this pandemic has given him “even more strength to make things move in the right direction.”

Eager for normality

After two months without handball, he cannot hide his satisfaction at the idea of going back to training at the beginning of June.

Following all safety procedures, Paris Saint-Germain will gather their players for some tests and some physical works and also because the club has something to celebrate.

“We won the French league, we all celebrated by talking on the phone but we will be able to do it properly now.

“We’re all eager to get back to our normal lives. Handball was out of my mind for nine weeks, the longest it has ever been. For a while, the only way to get outside was to do the shopping at the grocery store, so it will be nice to just resume the normal course of things.

“Everything started overnight, with the Olympics being postponed and it might take a little while for things to kick back in.”

After elimination in the first round of EHF EURO 2020, France will also know their fate for the qualification for 2022 on Tuesday evening at 17:00 hrs streamed live on the EHF EURO Facebook page as well as the EHF EURO YouTube channel.

“We said all we had to say about what happened in Trondheim. Now is the time to look to the future and thinking about the next EURO is also a part of that.

“Denmark and Norway will be among the favourites but, at the end of the day, it does not matter who we face. The most important thing is that we qualify.”

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