Boskovic: “Handball is a brand of Montenegro”

ER 2842 (1) EHF / Danijela Vekić

As one of the co-hosts of the Women’s EHF EURO 2022, Montenegro are back in the spotlights of women’s handball, 10 years after winning the title. Back then, current EHF Vice President Pedrag Boskovic was President of the Montenegrin Handball Federation.

Ten years after lifting the trophy at the EHF EURO 2012, Montenegro are back in the limelight of the Women’s European Championship. As co-hosts, they have already qualified for the main round after their opening two games, looking good for a deep run into the tournament.

Current EHF Vice President Predrag Boskovic was the president of the Handball Federation of Montenegro in 2012, the year of the country's biggest success.

Boskovic points out what the importance is of the Women's EHF EURO 2022 for Montenegro, sport, and women's handball in particular.

“Co-hosting of the EHF EURO 2022 is very important for Montenegro. This is the biggest sports event in the country since our independence and it is a special obligation but also a privilege to be part of this story,” Boskovic says.

“During Covid-19, there was a drop in interest in sports among people, consequently for women’s handball, too. It is still visible that the fans are not back in the stands at their full capacity. Therefore, I think an event like this is important in that aspect, too.”

Judging by the first day of the competition in Podgorica, with more than 3,000 fans in the stands supporting Montenegro and leaving goosebumps to all the viewers with their cheering, it seems like Boskovic’s words are coming true.

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Montenegro is a country well known for women’s handball success.

“If Montenegro get a good result, it would be an additional boost and will help to show that handball is a brand of Montenegro. Handball is, alongside water polo, the sport that represents Montenegro in Europe in the best possible way, both men’s and women’s,” Boskovic says.

Montenegro opened the 15th edition of the Women's EHF EURO with a straightforward win over Spain, 30:23, for their first triumph over a Spanish team in 10 years. They followed up by beating Germany 29:25 – two good signs for the head coach Bojana Popovic’s team.

“It proves that Montenegro have had good preparations for this EHF EURO 2022. The atmosphere in the Moraca Hall is amazing,” Boskovic says.

The atmosphere in the arena is a good omen, sending a strong message throughout Europe and an invitation to everyone to come to the Women's EHF EURO 2022 and support their players who are playing with heart.

“The image from the Moraca Hall, those fans and their support, is not only important for Montenegro and women’s handball in Montenegro, but also great for the promotion of women’s handball in Europe. I hope we have the same atmosphere in all other venues when Slovenia, North Macedonia or anyone else plays, especially in the final weekend.”

20221109 EHF Boskovic Quote
The image from the Moraca Hall, those fans and their support, is not only important for Montenegro and women’s handball in Montenegro, but also great for the promotion of women’s handball in Europe.
Pedrag Boskovic
EHF Vice President

The success story for handball in Montenegro started in 2010, with the junior national team, and had its culmination two years later. Buducnost, the main base for the national team, won the EHF Champions League, while the national team won Olympic silver before ending the year in the most brightest way – with gold at the EHF EURO 2012.

“2012 was the year of women’s handball, something almost impossible to repeat. I believe not a lot of nations can say they had that success. It all started in 2010 when our junior national team went to the IHF Junior (U19) World Championship in South Korea and won a bronze medal. It was a miracle, as at the time we only had 27 registered players in the 1990/91 generation. Today Buducnost have more than 500 players in all categories, and many new clubs have been founded. All those successes helped bring women’s handball to a higher level.”

Predrag Boskovic served as a member of the EHF Executive Board before taking over the role of Vice President six years ago.

In his decade at the EHF, Boskovic has been representative at numerous men’s and women’s EHF EURO tournaments, witnessing different organisational approaches to the tournament, in different conditions and countries.

“These three federations from the Balkans – Slovenia, North Macedonia, and Montenegro – did a very good job in organizing this EHF EURO and everything is going smoothly so far. With more people in the stands, it would make this championship even better. I believe this EHF EURO is another good step forward for women’s handball and to put this sport in the spotlight in Europe,” says Boskovic.

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Women empowerment is the focus of the EHF this tournament, with the Women at the Heart of the Game series, showcasing iconic 'Women in Sport' images, the dedicated EHF EURO Newsletter, written by EHF journalist Courtney Gahan, who is sharing her personal experience and successful women as ambassadors.

“I have to praise the idea of the EHF and these three federations to put women’s empowerment as the main focus of the championship. I hope I will not sound subjective because many sports fans have the same opinion, and that is that women’s handball is the most attractive women’s sport. So, it attracts a big number of fans. We have to return people to the venues and give them the same feeling they used to have prior to Covid-19.”

As for the rest of the tournament, Boskovic has high hopes.

“It is obvious we have many national teams that are dreaming big. The team that will remain on the same level throughout will have a bigger chance of raising the trophy,” Boskovic says.

“For the sport, it is important that the best team wins with another great story to tell. I hope we will enjoy good handball and a great atmosphere until the last day of the competition.”

photos © Jure Erzen / kolektiff

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