2020 European Champion Norway, Rikke Granlund (32) is happy with her new environment but hopes her Chambray team can achieve better results. Interview with Le Quotidien du Sport and Handball magazine.
Why did you decide to partner with Chambray, a choice that might surprise you with your track record?
During my journey, I want to try different experiences. Besides my country of origin (Norway, editor’s note), I also play in Denmark (Esbjerg, editor’s note). Chambre’s leadership left a very good impression on me. I really like this project.
I quickly understood which direction they wanted to go. This approach finally convinced me. I also found the idea of discovering a new country, a new culture, another champion, a new player while being able to play in the European Championships interesting. I think it’s a good challenge. I really want to pick it up.
With your European title in 2020 and your experience at the international level, your partners must be impressed when they see you coming, right?
(embarrassed) I don’t know, maybe… (smiles).
Why did you wait more than 30 years to play in France?
Maybe I can come earlier. But neither in Norway nor in Denmark, the culture, training methods, and of course the language, are very different from France.
This kind of turn isn’t something to be taken lightly, especially if you don’t know many people when you arrive. I have to integrate a lot of new things very quickly. The handball practiced here is also different from what I used to know.
Exactly what is the big difference between the Norwegian or even the Danish champions and the French?
In France, strictly speaking, there is a lot of room for handball. Even in training. In Norway, there are far fewer professional teams like yours. Therefore, for many girls in our country, it is an obligation to work with handball. In Denmark, the situation is different. This is a very physical handball and champion.
“In Norway, many girls work hand in hand”
Does replacing former Chambray captain Linda Pradel put extra pressure on you?
I understand that this player has been at the club for several years (editor’s note, between 2015 and 2021) and that she is a player of emblem. But I’m not Linda Pladel. I’m Rick Granlund. So change someone. But inevitably, when you’re new and you’re replacing an impressive player, it’s bound to add a little pressure.
Personally, you like to play fast, even as a goalkeeper. But how do you find the first part of the Chambre season?
We really have our ups and downs. We were able to beat Bourg-de-Péage (33-27, Day 7) and then lose to Toulon (27-29, Day 11). This league is crazy. Almost any team can win or lose to any other team. This champion is very nervous. But Chambre must first gain consistency. We can always do better. Nonetheless, the club has taken a big step forward in its history by participating in the Euros.
Rikke Granlund likes Indre et Loire
What are the challenges for Chambre between now and the end of the season?
Finish as high as possible. We want to be as close as possible to the European market. If we make it, it will be a very good result. It’s not done. The task may not seem easy, but we have a chance.
You have signed with CTHB for two seasons. How do you see your future?
This question is difficult to answer (smile). Currently, I’m in Chambray and I feel good there. I love participating in this French Championship. We’ll see what my future looks like.
The last word about the Indre et-Loire region, how do you find it?
very happy. It’s great to live in this area. There are many castles and vineyards.