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Respect Your Talent

Respect Your Talent takes next step

During the recent Younger Age Category Women's 19 events that were played in Slovenia, North Macedonia and Italy, the European Handball Federation's successful 'Respect Your Talent' programme continued.

Launched in 2019, Respect Your Talent is an EHF talent support programme promoting the holistic development of talented players’ careers; on and off the handball court.

In the programme’s pioneering approach, the world’s best handball players supported by leading field experts inspire and instruct young athletes covering topics such as dual career, mental performance, anti-doping, media or sports law.

Furthermore, the programme will serve as a central source of competence in the future, assisting the European handball family with training, research and network opportunities to foster sustainable pathways of aspiring players

As part of the RYT initiative, female ambassadors held an activity day at the recent YAC EHF Events. Andrea Lekic attended the W19 EHF EURO 2021 in Slovenia, while Katarina Bulatovic and Anja Althaus were at the Women's 19 EHF Championships in Italy and North Macedonia, respectively.

Bulatovic sees immense value in Respect Your Talent

Across the three championships, 114 players who received a Player of the Match award participated in the Respect Your Talent activity day, giving them the opportunity to meet and learn from one of the ambassadors.

The Player of the Match Event activity is based on the question: What is talent? Not only training for handball, but also training oneself as a person that makes her of him a better player. Talent is precious. Talent is not to copy others.

In EHF’s philosophy, talent is what a player makes of it – the main responsibility to become a pro player is in the players’ hands.

Katarina Bulatovic, who is part of the RYT Programme for the first time in 2021, believes the Respect Your Talent programme can assist player development in a way that was not available for her.

"I like it so much. Like I said, for the girls we didn't have this before. I hope this project will really succeed because I think we can really help players develop themselves. If we can help players become better players, we are here to support them," said Bulatovic.

2021 is the first year Bulatovic has been a part of the project, which has also been supported since 2019 by Stine Oftedal (Norway), Ana Gros (Slovenia), Anja Althaus (Germany), Johanna Ahlm (Sweden) and Nerea Pena (Spain), Jelena Grubisic (Croatia), Kari Aalvik Grimsbø and  Andrea Lekic (Serbia).

W19 EHF EURO stars enjoy meeting Lekic

Sweden's Charite Mumbongo, who was named as the best defender in the Women's 19 EHF EURO 2021 All-star Team, believes that Respect Your Talent will prove just as valuable in helping her to develop off the court as on the court.

"It was good to learn new things, not just handball ones, but also how to be a better human in every aspect, handball too," said Mumbongo.

At the tournament in Slovenia, Mumbongo had the opportunity to meet Serbia centre back Andrea Lekic. Mumbongo is pleased that Lekic is lending her support to helping the next generation of players develop.

"Andrea Lekic is a very funny person and charismatic. It is very good that she can be here to help new generations," added Mumbongo.

Slovenia's Erin Novak, who was named as her side's best player in their match against Slovakia, endorsed Mumbongo's view that spending time with Lekic was beneficial.

"It was really nice that Andrea Lekic was here, she taught us things about ourselves, our talent, and I think I will respect myself and my talent even more now," said Novak.

Lekic highlighted the importance of mental coaching, sports law and media

“What I found out a little bit later and they have the opportunity to do now, is mental coaching. I think it’s a great thing and a great opportunity to invest in yourself”, said Lekic and continued: “From other topics, I would have liked to have the opportunity to understand a little bit more about the sports law.

“It’s very important even though it sometimes doesn’t look like it is. They are 19 and they cannot realise that but nowadays it’s very important to know to whom you are going to give your future and to whom you are going to give this possibility to help you in the future about the contracts and choosing the clubs”, concluded Lekic who has been the ambassador of the project since 2019.

Furthermore, she pointed out the importance of social media management topics with regards to raising the popularity of handball. All these topics will be available in the Respect Your Talent toolkit app, coming in December 2021.

Respect Your Talent success continues on the court

Hungary's Blanka Kajdon was named in the All-star Team as the Most Valuable Player at the W19 EHF EURO 2021, and she was previously a part of the Respect Your Talent camp in 2019.

When she attended the camp in 2019, Kajdon said that she "would love to come back as an ambassador, but it is really in the future and I have to work a lot."

As part of the Respect Your Talent programme, Younger Age Category All-star players' progress will continue to be shared on social media. If Kajdon can replicate the achievements of Elena Mikhaylichenko, the W19 EHF EURO 2019 MVP, at the senior level, Kajdon will be on the path to fulfilling her talent.

More details about the RESPECT YOUR TALENT programme can be found  at https://respectyourtalent.eurohandball.com/

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