Campus - 20.11.2016 - 00:00 

Handball in Russia

The handball team of the University of St.Gallen (HSGSG) participated in the Klimov Cup in St Petersburg, where it convincingly reached third place. Student reporter Thomas Tarantini took part in the tournament as a player and reports on his stay in Russia.

21 November 2016. On Monday, 7 November, our twelve-strong delegation boarded the plane bound for St Petersburg. The delegation consisted of nine players, as well as Unisport Director and Vice-President of the International University Sports Federation (FISU) Leonz Eder, Unisport staff member Judith Wittwer and Cécile Büsser, Secretary General of the Swiss University Sport Federation. In ice-cold Russia, we were picked up by Sergey Konev, Lecturer in the Theory and Practice of Handball at Peter the Great Polytechnic University St Petersburg, and taken to the hotel. After a brief introduction meeting, we immediately began preparations for the first friendly, which was to take place on the same day. Our opponents were the team of Sergey’s university, our hosts. The match was played in a very fair manner and ended with a 19:26 victory for our colours. After the match, we all went out to dinner together and finished off the evening in the hotel.

The first semi-final of the tournament

The following day brought the next match and, at the same time, the first semi-final of the tournament: we played against a selection from SDUShOR Primorskogo Rayon, a special sports school for the Olympic reserve. We started the match motivated by our success of the day before. But as the origin of the team had made us suspect, the match turned out to be difficult and fast. None of teams was able to achieve a significant break. At half time, we were leading 11:9, not least thanks to strong defensive work. However, the numerically superior Russians were able to catch up and took the lead. After a race to catch up on our part, this intensive match finished with a 20:20 draw after 50 minutes; thus the decision had to be reached in a penalty shoot-out. With five tries per team, this unfortunately ended with 3:5 for our opponents. Despite the unhappy final episode, however, we were able to be proud of our achievement. We spent the evening together with students of the St Petersburg Polytechnic University.

HSG student honoured as the best goalkeeper of the tournament

Wednesday was already the last day of the tournament. It started with the match for third place between our team and that from Brandenburgische Technische Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU). We quickly scored a few goals, thus making the situation clear early on. We finally won the match with 33:18 thanks to a repeatedly strong team performance. The tournament was then won by SDUShOR Primorskogo Rayon in the final against Peter the Great Polytechnic University St Petersburg.

The final ceremony was a further highlight of the generally very well organised tournament. Local cheerleaders provided the entertainment. This dance interlude was followed by the awards. It was with pride that Fabian Karst (20) accepted his award as the best goalkeeper of the tournament. After all the team had received their diplomas, Yuri Kirov, Olympic handball winner with the USSR in 1976 and eponym of the tournament, said a few words to the players.

Athletic and cultural enrichment

After the conclusion of the tournament, we extended our stay in this metropolis with five million inhabitants and visited the numerous sights. This week did not only provide an athletic enrichment but was also rewarding in terms of culture. We got to know many new people, visited museums, churches and bars, and were able to jettison quite a few clichés – and for all this, we would once again like to express our cordial thanks to all the organisers from St Petersburg, Unisport and the Federation Committee.

Thomas Tarantini is studying Business Administration in the fifth semester at the HSG.

Photo: Cécile Büsser

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