Being a handball parent and through my involvement in my support role in the Australian Handball Federation [AHF], I have met a number of amazing people both locally and overseas. Recently, I made a quick trip to New York to attend an impromptu get together with my university friends. One of the highlights of the trip was meeting in person someone who has been a supporter of Australian handball. This is none other than Nenad Bach, the Editor of the Croatian World Network [CROWN] website.
A few months after the 2005 World Championship held in Tunisia, one of the Australian players [Ogi Latinovic] came across the picture of Bevan Calvert included in an article published on CROWN. I sent a short email to the Editor to thank him for acknowledging an Australian player. Much to my pleasant surprise he replied and requested some information on Bevan. That marked the start of a ‘connection’ with CROWN, which has been publishing updates on the Australian handball team and Bevan. [see: http://www.croatia.org/crown/articles/8871/1/UPDATE-ON-AUSTRALIAN-HANDBALLER-Bevan-Calvert-A-CroWorld-FRIEND.html] Hence, CROWN has been recognised as one of AHF’s friends and a link between the two websites duly established.
It was fortunate that during my unplanned trip, Nenad was not out-of-town and was able to meet up with me. Our friendly Webmaster agreed that it would be a good idea to do an interview article on Nenad and happily helped develop questions which I emailed to Nenad after I got back home. Here are Nenad’s responses to a few questions:
VC: Is there excitement in Croatia about the upcoming WC?
NB: In a small country like Croatia, events like World Championship is front page
news. We are building a new sport hall in Zagreb for the event, plus the whole
country will be involved. As we are coming closer to January 16, 2009 you will
see more articles written about the handball and championship.
VC: Do you follow Croatian Handball closely or just the National Team?
NB: I actually didn’t pay much attention to the sport at all, except by default,
because our national team is phenomenal, considering of a small pool of
people to chose from. What triggered my attention is Australian Handball and
Croatian World Network Croatia.org connection with Bevan Calvert and your PR
Team that did an amazing job promoting its national team. Then I started to
pay more attention and now especially that we are the host of the 2009 Men’s
World Championship (January 16th – February 1st, 2009).
VC: Which team(s) do you think will do well in the 2009 WC?
NB: I am not an expert on the subject, so beside obvious choices like Croatia,
Germany, Poland, Denmark, Russia, Spain and France, there are always some
surprises and that depends on a momentum that some teams achieve by a
magic. Most of the time I remember that people who are somewhere in the last
row of the photo when our sports teams leave for Olympic games, are usually
the first one to come out of the plane with gold medal around their neck. Some
people, as well teams, are calibrated for big stages. They shine under pressure.
VC: What do you know about Australian Handball?
NB: Not much, but much more than average Croatian probably. The reason is as I
mentioned before, our connection with CROWN – Croatia.org and therefore, I
learned on a day that Australia qualified for the 2009 games the same day.
And it made me very happy that Australians are travelling to Croatia. We are
two countries that are far apart on the globe, but very well connected in human
stories and sensibilities. Many Croatians found home in Australia and always
promote their new country as the place to visit, with the words "You will love
Australia as soon as you land". Sports is a great catalyst for world peace,
because it is transparent as much as it can be, plus people connect through the
game regardless where they came from and what they do or make for a living.
At the game we are all together on the same spiritual level. It is very close to
VC: What do you expect from Australia at the coming WC?
NB: Well, all I can say that I wish you well. I know that you are not in the same
league as the front runners, but all of these teams got there by participating.
And you ARE partiicipating. You have the whole organization of support that
makes your team better and better; and as we see, your players are being
accepted in the some of the best world leagues; where when they come back to
play for the national team, they will transfer the knowledge to their own team.
Croatians played all over the Europe, plus desire must be stronger than pain.
VC: What made you pick Bevan’s picture out of the hundreds [possibly thousands]of
pictures taken during 2005 WC?
I thought I’d also mention that aside from being the Editor of CROWN, Nenad is also an accomplished singer, songwriter and film score composer. If you want to know more about his "music side", you can check out: http://www.myspace.com/nenadbach . Hopefully plans for him to tour Australia next year would materialise. He could even catch a handball comp game or two, and we could also get the chance to attend his concert. Then we can truly say that sport and music connect people.
AHF Media and Public Relations