Radicevic on the impact of Respect Your Talent

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EHF / Danijela Vekić

While most of Europe’s handball players will be on a well-deserved vacation in the next couple of months, or preparing for the new season, promising female future stars will take on the courts across Europe.

The W19 EHF EURO 2023 in Romania, W19 EHF Championship 2023 in Kosovo and Lithuania, W17 EHF EURO 2023 in Montenegro and W17 EHF Championship 2023 in Azerbaijan and Türkiye all take place in July and August, providing new participants in the EHF’s Respect Your Talent programme.

All players who become Player of the Match in one of the EHF EURO or EHF Championship tournaments will get the opportunity to take part in the Respect Your Talent Player of the Match event and meet programme ambassadors.

In Pitesti, Romania at the W19 EHF EURO 2023, young talents will have a chance to meet former handball player and EHF Hall of Fame member Anja Althaus and one of the best right wings of all time and EHF Champions League Women all-time top scorer, Jovanka Radicevic.

Radicevic – EHF EURO, EHF Champions League and EHF Cup Winner's Cup winner, Olympic silver medallist, top scorer and All-star Team member on multiple occasions – is a new ambassador for Respect Your Talent.

“It means a lot to be an ambassador of the Respect Your Talent programme. I'm really proud and happy to be able to be part of it,” says Radicevic.

Since being launched in 2019, Respect Your Talent has welcomed a host of up-and-coming players and brought them through its workshops and camps. Teaching young players about on and off-court skills which are important to become a successful elite athlete have been the focus.

“Respect Your Talent is a great idea. I hope my knowledge, handball career, experience, and everything I went through will help those young athletes. It's the same reason why I started my international handball camp for girls. Working with young players is my passion and I want to help the younger generations,” adds Radicevic when asked why she accepted her new role.

At the on-site workshop in Pitesti, Radicevic will try to give practical insight into her stellar career but also emphasise work that is not seen on the court – behind the scenes in the life of a professional athlete, dealing with everyday life, education, media and nutrition, among other elements.

“I am ready for Romania and have a lot to say, but I always try to explain to younger generations that without hard work and discipline there is no success. There is no miracle and secret formula, you have to boldly step towards your goal. Believe in yourself and be ready for the commitment,” says Radicevic ahead of the start of the W19 EHF EURO.

One of the most recognisable right wings of all time says she would like to give young players a more complex view of the life of a professional athlete, something she feels she missed out on.

“The important part is that I believe that no one can better transfer experience and knowledge to young people than us players. And not only on the court, but also off-court life. Generations and times change, but what remains the same is that whatever you take up and want to do, you must give your whole self to it,” Radicevic says.

“In addition to handball matters on the court, I would like to teach them how to talk to the media, mental health, sports against drugs, anti-doping, and so on. I believe that this is very necessary for young athletes to develop in the right direction,” explains Radicevic.

While young talents will learn from the stars and look up to their idols, stars like Radicevic also learn something from them.

“We also learn from the young. What is endless is their love, which they provide, and what filled me with positive energy. Children have genuine emotions and love and they teach us to love what we do, every day,” concludes Radicevic.

Players participating in the Player of the Match events will have access to the RYT app, where they can find different training sessions on all the off-court topics which are part of the programme. Future All-star Team members will earn their place at the Respect Your Talent camp which will be held in December 2023.

Photos © Jozo Cabraja / kolektiff

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