‘Respect Your Talent’: New EHF project supports development of young elite handball players

The European Handball Federation, on the initiative of its Women’s Handball Board, will be launching a new scheme, ‘Respect Your Talent’, this Thursday.

The project aims at encouraging the personal development of talented female handball players who will be identified at younger age category events over the coming years, starting with the Women’s 19 and Women’s 17 EHF EUROs as well as EHF Championships this summer.

Supported by selected project ambassadors such as Stine Oftedal (Norway), Ana Gros (Slovenia), Anja Althaus (Germany) Johanna Ahlm (Sweden) and Nerea Pena (Spain), ‘Respect Your Talent’ has the objective to promote the passion for handball, to identify young talented players, to track their careers and support them in their development on and off court.

More than 200 players will be part of the project this summer. After each match at the currently ongoing Women’s 19 EHF EURO in Hungary, the Women’s 19 EHF Championships in Bulgaria and Lithuania as well as at the corresponding U17 events in August, every ‘Player of the Match’ will be selected and form a part of ‘Respect Your Talent’. The same holds true for the All-star Team players chosen at every tournament.

The first official ‘RYT Activity Day’ will take place in Győr at the Women’s 19 EHF EURO on 18 July, featuring the ‘Players of the Match’ selected up to this point as well as Norwegian international and Győri Audi ETO KC centre back, Stine Oftedal, as ambassador.

Similar activities are planned for all younger age category tournaments this summer.

Two steps until 2021

“It is our responsibility as European Handball Federation to guide talented young players through their careers right from the early start,” says EHF Secretary General Martin Hausleitner.

“By selecting them as ‘Player of the Match’ as well as nominating them for the All-star Team, we make them aware of their talent – but talent is not enough to succeed. ‘Respect Your Talent’ means that they are ready to work hard on and off the court to become the best.

“We will guide them through that process, help them grow and follow them. We hope that we will be able to tell success stories once these talented players turn professional. Great examples are Nora Mørk, Cristina Neagu and Anna Vyakhireva: They have all been MVPs at a youth or junior event – and look where they are now.”

‘Respect Your Talent’ will be conducted in two steps. In 2019, the project’s first year, the idea is to identify talented players at the younger age category events as well as to follow in particular the All-star Teams’ MVPs throughout the season, sharing their progress on the EHF’s social media channels.

In 2020, the EHF plans to organise a special training camp for the All-Star Team players who have been selected at the 2019 tournaments.
In the meantime, the ‘Respect Your Talent’ toolkit will be developed and published. It will include, among other topics, media communication, use of social media, anti-doping and fair play. This will form a core part of the future education and training for all coming intakes of the ‘Respect Your Talent’ project.

The project will also include young male players, starting in 2020 with the Men’s 18 and the Men’s 20 EHF EUROs and EHF Championships played that summer.

Timeline of younger age category events in 2019

•    11 to 21 July: Women’s 19 EHF EURO 2019 in Hungary
•    13 to 21 July: Women’s 19 EHF Championship in Bulgaria
•    15 to 21 July: Women’s 19 EHF Championship in Lithuania
•    1 to 11 August: Women’s 17 EHF EURO in Slovenia
•    3 to 11 August: Women’s 17 EHF Championship in Georgia
•    3 to 11 August: Women’s 17 EHF Championship in Italy

TEXT: EHF/jb