KOŠICE – Slovak handball players completed the first training on Tuesday evening in the Steel Arena in Košice, which will be the venue of the European F-Group from Thursday.
“I have chills at every mention of the European Championships in Košice. There is a big thing ahead of us that we are looking forward to,” said the wingman Tomáš Urban, who is one of several Košice residents in the staff of coach Petr Kukučka.
After the first training in the Steel Arena in Košice, there was a positive mood in the team, which is also documented by the teasing between “East and West.” There are several players in the team from eastern Slovakia, including Patrik Hruščák from Košice and Urban. “Of course it has to be. The mood has to be good, so we try to create it. We also push between East and West, but, of course, everything is within the norm.” Urban admitted with a smile. The European Championships are also a special event at home for another of Patrik Hruščák’s experienced players. “It is the peak of a career for all Košice people who are in the staff. We are looking forward to it. Such an event in Slovakia does not have to be repeated in the near future,” said the 32-year-old HK Košice clutch.
Habit for larger spaces
Tuesday’s training lasted less than an hour, and the players got acquainted with the board, where they will play duels with Norway, Lithuania and Russia. “Until now, we trained in a smaller hall, so it was important that the players got used to the bigger spaces. They went through a lot of long distance passes, shootings and also some standard situations that we wanted to go through. for Thursday’s match with the Norwegians, “ said SR coach Peter Kukučka.
Approximately 2,000 spectators will be able to watch the matches in Košice and Bratislava, as the 25% capacity of the stadiums is allowed. Both players and coaches believed that they would be able to rely on crowded stands at one of the top events of their careers, but given the recent situation, they are also happy for such a release of capacity constraints. “Originally, we were all looking forward to a full ‘boiler,’ in front of which our strength would be even greater. However, the situation is as it is and we must accept it. Later, we also prepared not to play in front of any spectators, so we are also happy for the number that can come, “ coach Kukučka noted.
Top event after less than 3 years
Handball European Championships are the most important sporting event for Košice since May 2019, when the city hosted the World Hockey Championships. Slovak handball players are accommodated in the same hotel as the hockey players three years ago. Located almost 5 kilometers from the city center, they have it reserved for themselves and have created their own “bubble” to minimize the risk of coronavirus infection. “We tried to create the best possible conditions for the players. We succeeded. The whole hotel is only for us. We have two games rooms where we spend time and regeneration. Being locked in a room would not be ideal, players must also relax, “ introduced SR coach Peter Kukučka.
program of the Slovak Republic in the basic F-group ME 2022:
Thursday, January 13: SR – Norway /20.30/
Saturday, January 15: SR – Lithuania /18.00/
Monday, January 17: SR – Russia /18.00/
Nomination of Slovak handball players for the European Championship 2022:
Goalkeepers: Teodor Paul (USAM Nimes Gard / Fr.), Marián Žernovič (FTC Budapest / Hungary), Michal Martin Konečný (BM Ángel Ximénez Puente Genil / Šp.)
Beer: Dominik Kalafut (HSG Nordhorn-Lingen / Germany), Martin Slaninka (HSC Suhr Aarau / CHE), Simon Macháč (SBS-Eger / Hungary)
Wings: Tomáš Urban (TSV GWD Minden / Nem.), Marek Kováčech (Handball Sportunion Leoben / Rak.), Martin Briatka (MŠK Považská Bystrica), Lukáš Péchy (HC Sporta Hlohovec)
Couplings: Jakub Prokop, Tomáš Smetánka (both Viveros Herol BM Nava / Šp.), Martin Potisk (ThSV Eisenach / Nem.), Marek Hniďák (HC Burgenland / Nem.), Lukáš Urban (Grundfos Tatabánya KC / Hungary), Ľubomír Ďuriš ( HE-DO B.Braun Gyöngyös / Hungary), Jakub Mikita (FTC Budapest / Hungary), Marek Korbel (Talent Plzeň / Czech Republic), Oliver Rábek (Tatran Prešov), Patrik Hruščák (HK Košice)