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23.08.2016, 10:59◄ last page     

ANALYSIS: With the Olympics over and the VELUX EHF and the Women’s EHF Champions League starting in a few weeks, we have a look at the most successful Olympians who return to their respective clubs

PSG and Rostov players win the whole set of Rio 2016 medals

The Olympic Games in Rio have come to an end, with two teams winning gold that had never been at the top of the podium at the handball tournament before: Denmark in the men’s event and Russia in the women’s event.

2008 and 2012 men’s winners France finished second ahead of Germany. 2008 and 2012 women’s winners Norway came third; France came also second in the women’s event.

Across both events, there were plenty of EHF Champions League stars taking to the court and among them they amassed plenty of medals and other awards.

The Men’s All-star team consists only of VELUX EHF Champions League players. Danish gold medallist Mikkel Hansen from PSG Handball became the tournament’s MVP – another award for the left back after he had been named World Handball Player of 2015 only recently.

PSG’s Nikola Karabatic and new arrival Uwe Gensheimer also made it to the All-star team.

THW Kiel’s Niklas Landin, FC Barcelona Lassa’s Cedric Sorhaindo, SG Flensburg-Handewitt’s Lasse Svan and Montpellier Handball’s Valentin Porte complete the Olympic All-stars. Top scorer Karol Bielecki plays for KS Vive Tauron Kielce, the current VELUX EHF Champions League winners.

Kielce’s coach Talant Dujshebaev, who is also at the helm of the Polish national team, missed the chance to become the first to win Olympic gold as player – he did so in 1992 with the EUN team –  and as coach. Poland finished fourth after losing the bronze medal game against Germany.

Overall 21 VELUX EHF Champions League players were on court in the Olympic men’s final, won by Denmark 28:26 against France.

The only club, who can welcome back gold, silver and bronze medallists, is PSG who pride themselves of having the Danes Hansen and Henrik Möllgard, the French Thierry Omeyer, Nikola and Luka Karabatic, Luc Abalo and Daniel Narcisse as well the German Gensheimer in their ranks.

2014 VELUX EHF Champions League winners SG Flensburg-Handewitt were represented by the gold medallists Svan and Henrik Toft Hansen and silver medallist Kentin Mahe. From FC Barcelona Lassa, Dane Jesper Noddesbö and the two French, Cedric Sorhaindo and Timothy N’Guessan, played in the final.

THW Kiel welcome back two gold medallists, Niklas Landin and Rene Toft Hansen, and four bronze medallists: Andreas Wolff, Patrick Wiencek, Christian Dissinger and Steffen Weinhold.

Rhein Neckar Löwen are the club home of gold medal winner Mads Mensah Larsen and the bronze medallists Patrick Groetzki and Hendrik Pekeler.

Furthermore, five Montpellier players (Vincent Gerard, Mathieu Grebille, Michael Guigou, Ludovic Fabregas and Valentin Porte from France) and one Kielce player (German Tobias Reichmann) were among the three top squads of the Olympic men’s tournament.

Gold, silver, bronze for Rostov-Don

Women’s EHF Champions League participants Rostov-Don were the PSG equivalent in the women’s tournament: the club’s players won medals of all colours. Six players of the victorious Russian squad (Anna Sedoykina, Marina Sudakova, Anna Sen, Vladlena Bobrovnikova, Ekaterina Ilina and Mayya Petrova, as well as left wing Siraba Dembele from France and Norway’s goalkeeper Katrine Lunde play for the Russian league runner-ups.

HC Vardar are the only club with two different colours of medals in their squad thanks to Alexandra Lacrabere and goalkeeper Amandine Leynaud (both France) as well as Norwegian new arrival Camilla Herrem.

The All-star team is led by the youngest-ever MVP at an Olympic handball tournament: 22-year-old Anna Vyakhireva.

The right wing, who will play for Rostov-Don next season, is not the only player of her family who made it to the All-star team. Her sister Polina Kuznetsova, who plays for Russian champions Astrakhanochka, was named best left wing.

Two-time EHF Champions League winners Györ are represented three times among the All-stars: Goalkeeper Kari Grimsbö and line player Heidi Löke made the cut as well as Rio 2016 top scorer Nora Mörk. French right back Alexandra Lacrabere, a new arrival at Macedonian powerhouse HC Vardar, is also an All-star.

19 Women’s EHF Champions League winners took to the court in the women’s final, including two French (Camille Ayglon and Gnonsiane Niombla), who will play for 2016 winners CSM Bucuresti next season.

Photo: Stephane Pillaud / IHF

TEXT: Björn Pazen / ts

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