Handball was considered a completely ‘forbidden’ sport in the Netherlands for months. The physical, lightning-fast indoor game, with hand-to-hand duels and pull-and-push work, would carry too much risk of the virus spreading. For example, the lock on the door of the more than a thousand sports halls in the Netherlands has been locked for a long time.
Step by step, the regime is getting lighter for the handball world. The best players in the Netherlands, fourteen in number, are already training for the fourth week in the National Sports Center Papendal. Tess Wester, Angela Maleistein, Laura van der Heijden, Delaila Amega, Bo van Wetering, world champions since December, were allowed to take advantage of their top sport status.
The fourteen, including three neo-internationals who move abroad after this summer, train under the guidance of assistant national coach Harrie Weerman and youth coach Ricardo Clarijs in the Arnhem handball hall where normally the Handball Academy is active. It was kept secret, at least silently.
Weerman, with 73 the oldest national coach in the national sports world, can hardly suppress his enthusiasm. “It is full training. Twice a week. First a hall block of an hour and a half and after a half-hour break a strength session with Auke Klarenbeek. We follow all protocols. It is a lot of pass work, ball technique, switches, and shot training. There is no one-on-one. Can not.’
There is a weekly video consultation with national coach Manu Mayonnade about the training. The French trainer cannot leave his country (yet), was stuck in his house in Metz until two weeks ago. The lockdown in France was strict, much stricter than in the Netherlands, where handball players such as Amega and Van Wetering, as neighbor girls from Heerhugowaard, were already throwing their balls in the local park in April. Incidentally, only after cleaning the ball with a disinfectant.
Martine Smeets, World Cup international of Champions League topper Metz, did not get permission from her French employer. “The state pays 86 percent of the salary there. Then I get that. Danick Snelder, captain of the national team, was also not released by her Hungarian club Ferencvaros. But she trains very seriously for herself. We know Danick ‘, Weerman knows.
The top international players in the Netherlands train Monday and Thursday. Last Tuesday was the first day that the now renowned Handball Academy carefully opened its gates again. Trainer Clarijs: ‘One day this week. Two days next week. And so on. Up to fourteen men on the field. We cut the girl group in half.
Because even with fifteen it is not allowed. We get this space because our talents have the top sport status of S-1. The first addition to the Olympic team. That is why Papendal opens up for them again. But it is not business as usual. There is no overnight stay. We are not going internally. “
The handball summer of the talent center will be filled in after the forced break (from Thursday 12 March) with a short holiday and a quick resumption of training. They are summer-oriented classes, says Clarijs. They will replace the World Cup under 20, where the Netherlands is one of the big favorites. That tournament is now scheduled for December 1. Playground: Romania.
In that month, the European Championship for seniors also takes place, in Denmark and Norway, two inspired handball countries. In Norway, the third Dutch goalkeeper, Annick Lipman, was chosen as goalkeeper of the year last week, in a team with world stars Herrem and Loke.
Lipman has been training there again for three weeks, at her club Byasen in Trondheim. Indoor. One meter away. No duels. Shoot a lot. And not everyone has to have their own cleaned ball all the time, “said the keeper, who had to be quarantined for fourteen days after her return to Norway, on April 27. Prescription. “It ended after ten days. The arrangement was relaxed. “