Jon Azkue: “Representing our culture in Europe makes us very proud”
Bidasoa Irun have seven points in EHF European League Men group D after three wins (against Águas Santas, HC Motor and Eurofarm Pelister) and a draw in Bitola. Jon Azkue has been excelling in his team and in this competition. But what has really made the difference? “We are a complete team, we play very well together, that's what characterises us.”
Despite this, there are athletes who have to take over the game, who have to think about handball in a different way and organise their team. “There are always athletes who have to take a step forward and it's something that comes naturally to me”, highlights the 28-year-old player.
Jon Azkue is a great player and team captain. An intelligent athlete and essential in the team's attack, he assists very well and his finishing is at the top level. He masters the 1 vs 1 technique and compensates for his 184cm stature. Asked about the most outstanding qualities as a centre back, the Spanish athlete points out the “speed and verticality”. “I always give 100% and I go all out when I see space”, he said.
Jon Azkue started playing handball for Bidasoa Irun at the age of 17 and the feeling of gratitude is everlasting. “Bidasoa Irun is my home. They welcomed me with open arms and I have been lucky enough to grow and mature with the club, for which I am very grateful,” Jon points out.
The Basque region has its own culture, especially the language (Euskara) and has sustained a nationalist movement since the late 19th century. “We are very lucky to have our own culture and language. It is something that unites us as people, and those who come from outside realise that. Representing our culture in Europe, from such a small region, makes us very proud,” Azkue said.
Bidasoa Irun are coming from a defeat against Águas Santas (28:25) in Maia. Despite the enormous difficulty, they will try to turn the bad wave of results against Füchse Berlin, the unbeaten group leaders, at home next Tuesday at 20:45 CET, live on EHFTV.
“We had a tough defeat in the last round, mainly because of our game, we weren't able to show what we can really give. But against Füchse Berlin we will certainly give another image,” highlights Jon.
It should also be noted that Bidasoa Irun have not yet lost any games at home in this competition. In fact, the Artaleku is a fortress for this team that contributes to victories in all the games played in front of the Irun fans. The pavilion of this Basque team is known for having an absolutely scorching atmosphere.
“We play against the Group leaders at home, in front of our fans always helps us a lot”
“We will play against the Group leaders at home, in front of our fans always helps us a lot. We also have the reference of the game in Germany (34:29) in which we competed very well for many minutes,” Azkue said.
Asked about the main goal of Bidasoa Irun in this European competition, the answer is clear. “Our main goal now is to get through this group stage, it's the least we can demand of ourselves. From there, we want to go as far as possible,” he finished.