210330 Kielce Tournat
EHF Champions League

Tournat: “I cannot wait to teach Rock Feliho a Polish word or two”

EHF / Kevin Domas

It would be tough for us to find a happier man than Nicolas Tournat right now. The French line player, who moved from Nantes to Lomza Vive Kielce last summer, is “delighted about my new life in Poland.”

Sure, he joked about missing the French food and being around his friends, but otherwise, his move to the 2016 EHF Champions League winners was everything he hoped for.

“I came here to win the Champions League, but also to discover a new culture, to find something new. And I am learning new things every day,” Tournat says with a smile.

ABM 9243

The only thing he has been struggling to improve lately is his Polish. Despite most of his teammates talking to each other in the local language, to his own admission, Nicolas Tournat remains a little bit short on vocabulary.

“My oldest kid is going to kindergarten and he can count in Polish, he also knows the colours and a lot of other stuff. I have to catch up with him otherwise he will be fluent in Polish and I will be staring at him without understanding a word when he speaks.”

Thankfully, his lack of language skills have not had an impact on the court as the French line player has been impressive since arriving in Kielce.

When explaining why, he has a lot of good things to say about the Polish powerhouse and coach Talant Dusjshebaev, with whom he has quickly created a real bond.

“I can now see why everybody is praising him. He really is a super special coach, both on and off the court. Talant has a lot of charisma, he is really close to us players but he also is super strict.

“He is hailed as a legend, but I can understand why,” says Tournat, who so far, has not suffered any legendary anger from the four-time Champions League-winning coach: “But I have it in the dressing room, and you better not make the same mistakes twice.”

I can now see why everybody is praising him. He really is a super special coach, both on and off the court. Talant has a lot of charisma, he is really close to us players but he also is super strict.
Nicolas Tournat on Talant Dujshebaev

Looking back on the group phase, where Kielce finished third in group A, the Polish side surely must have hoped for better, after being on top for most of it.

But two crucial losses, in Paris and against Flensburg, forced them down to third place.

“We are super frustrated about it. We shot ourselves in the foot as we lost by three against Flensburg. I will be honest, I am probably less gutted about finishing third because it means I can go back to Nantes this week, but seriously, we were angry with ourselves,” remembers Tournat, who is delighted to visit his former club in Match of the Week.

Nantes is the club he played for his entire professional career, the one who put him in the international spotlight and it is with “Le H” that he first played the EHF FINAL4 in 2018.

“I left without saying a proper goodbye and this time I will not be able to have fans as well. Knowing the Nantes fans, they will be there at the arrival of the bus and I will be able to wave from afar but that is not the same thing,” says Tournat, who, for the duration of an evening, will be reunited with people he knows considers as friends.

“We have not spoken about it yet but I am sure Rock Feliho will try to crack a few jokes. And I cannot wait to teach him a Polish word or two,” concludes Tournat.

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