Antonio D'Ovidio - player of Cus Cassino Gaeta '84, co-organizer of EBT Finals 2017 and organizer of EBT Tournament Calise Cup 2017. In other words, man of many parts. We asked Antonio to answer our question just in "few words". As you can see from our interview, "few words" in Italian and Croatian culture means something a bit different;) Check in the article what are the other cultural differences and where you can meet our Italian friends.
Please, tell us something about your club history. When did you start with beach handball and what are your main goals, successes, main opposite teams etc.?
We are pioneers of this amazing sport - first beach handball matches played ever took place in 1992 on Ponza, island close to Gaeta. It all began in Italy when Gianni Buttarelli and our ex-president Franco Schiano had the idea of "Handballbeach“. Everything due to lack of indoor halls on the island. The first Beach Handball tournament worldwide took place at the beach of San Antonio on Ponza in July 1992 where we played against Ciampino, Roma Populinier, Lazio Sequax and Polyot Celjabinsk (Ural) competing on a floodlit court for the first-ever victory at a Beach Handball tournament.
One of our best experiences was in Graz in Austria at Olympic children games in 2003, with a fantastic team and with satisfaction of seventh position on 14 teams representing nations as clubs. We won 2-0 with good teams as Spain and Austria "B", and lost other matches just at shoot-outs against Poland, Switzerland, Austria "A" and Czech Republic.
Our opposite team in the last years was Grosseto for Italian Championship and often Camelot on EBT tournaments. In the past we achieved many goals in Italy with 1st places and podiums for Italian Championships and national tournaments, we won Fair Play cup in Tilburg Beach Handball Tournament in 2012, Fair Play Cup at Jarun Cup 2015 and our juniors are improving significantly in last years. This year we have a goal to become Italian champions and to play all tournaments possible.
Where have your club played so far, and which countries have you visited?
We played in so many different countries and at moment the furthest country is Czech Republic with Karvinà Handball cup which we’d visited for about ten years. We love to play tournaments everywhere, visit the cities, get to know other cultures and new people. We’ve been also 5 times to Holland on Camelot Beach Handball Tournament and we really enjoyed that tournament because of really good friendship we created with Dutch guys.
We take part in tournaments also for holidays, so… sit down and take your time to read all countries that we visited so far: Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Greece and Croatia with Jarun Cup where we are coming for the 3rd time in a row this year.
What are your expectations about the tournament and with how many teams will you participate in Jarun Cup 2017? Since we have the tournament for the younger age categories, will you bring your youngsters to the tournament?
I expect to relax, beat Detono Zagreb 2-0, win award for best scorer, find a pretty girlfriend (better if she plays beach handball) and win Jarun Cup 2017. Oooh, I was sleeping and dreaming! Sorry :P To be serious, I expect to play good matches, high level of teams, more nationalities and that our youngers will constantly improve playing with us and against teams of their age. We know so good this tournament and we are honored to participate for 3rd time in a row, atmosphere is really good, the organization committee is full of friends that we know, people are full of passion, location is so relaxing and nice and the City is really clean and interesting. Obviously we will meet everybody also at players party, in this occasion we are world Champions!!!
We will come with our senior team but we hope to come also with our under 18 twam. They must gain experience and play with juniors from Croatia and other nations.
In your opinion, describe in few words "beach handball lifestyle". What is the most important part of "sport, sun, friendliness and fun" philosophy for you?
Beach Handball for me is freedom and fair play atmosphere. When I stand on the court I feel happy, I don't feel stress or pressure as in indoor handball. I play with fun, smile and I love to fly inside a court and try to save a shoot of other goalkeeper entering from changing area - it gives me so good sense of freedom and happiness.
About sun in Jarun Cup I can't talk! But anyway, even under rain we had always fun. We even played during rainstorm in Holland few years ago, so we really love to play always. Beach Handball gave me also so important friendships, not only with played but also with referees and delegates. I am not trying to corrupt someone, this is the truth.
Since you are the player and the organizer of the Gaeta tournaments at the same time, what position do you prefer - the organizer or the player?
Are you joking? Really? I hope you are! I love to play beach handball but on our EBT tournament in Gaeta I have to be organizer only. I really suffer when I can’t play, but as an organizer I can get to know really good all of the teams, create new friendships with all participants and receive a lot of gifts - remember that I love food and I collect handball shirts, so Michałki, wine and beer from abroad, cookies and all that you want will be appreciated. OK?
In the end, introduce your main beach handball project(s) you participate in this year.
This season will be so hard but at the same time full of emotions. First project is Jarun Cup - to have fun and relax after hard indoor season. Then on May we will have a lot of work as co-organizers of EBT Finals in Gaeta. And after that we will focus on our EBT Tournament that will be held between 7 and 9 of July. We have at the moment 263 EBT points, already registered teams from Sweden, England, Slovakia, Spain, Poland and Italy and we expect more because we want to constantly develop. Last year we had really high level. Then we will finally relax and have holidays - we planned to go to Polish, German and Czech tournaments for example.
Greetings for all of you and see you in April in Zagreb. We can't wait to meet all of you and know new beach handball friends. See you soon! :)