The beautiful summer of French handball is over. Now it’s time for the weekly fights for the European Championship and Cups. And to all credit, it was up to PSG to open the season this Friday, with the reception of Istres. A first success (34-25) for the champion of France, who held his rank and made the show. Beyond the field, it was also in the stands (not fully filled with 1646 entries) of Coubertin, where spectators were able to appreciate and encourage their favorite team and its eight recent Olympic medalists.
Forgotten about the 800 spectator gauge set up when the venue reopened last May. An hour before kick-off, there are already a hundred or so supporters waiting in front of the barriers: “We were impatiently awaiting this match, laughs Myriam, subscriber since 2012 and coming from Montigny les Cormeilles (95) with a small group other aficionados, all from the “8th Man” group. It was Luc Abalo and Didier Dinart who made me sign with the club! “
Pascal, retired and club jersey on his back, arrived very early from Val-de-Marne to watch for the arrival of players from the capital: “I was able to greet them and chat a little with Benoît (Kounkoud) and the former Parisians (Samuel Honrubia and Clément Gaudin). Unfortunately, I could not see our Olympic champions … Usually, all the players come to greet the stand after the game, but here, I’m afraid that this is not possible with the sanitary conditions. He doesn’t know it yet, but he’s already right.
At the break, PSG has not yet made the difference (16-14). But Hélène keeps her confidence. This Friday, she is there as in every match at Coubertin, including those of the Champions League. She has her favorites, of course: “We are all proud of our players, and more particularly of five gold medalists with the France team (Vincent Gérard, Yann Genty, Luka and Nikola Karabatic, Nedim Remili) I am chauvinist , and I claim it! Mikkel Hansen and Henrik Toft Hansen (in silver with Denmark) as well as Ferran Sole (tanned with Spain) are still in her heart of support.
The second period turns quickly to the advantage of the players of the capital, who had last year chained 22 consecutive victories. The atmosphere rose sharply when Vincent Gérard made three world-class saves in two minutes, including two on the same action. “Vincent! Vincent! »Chants the room, standing, while the Parisian goalkeeper screams his satisfaction with his teammates. The champion is back.
Matthieu and Jérémy, two Essonniens, are delighted to be there: “Physically, they are all very impressive, launches the first, who sees a hand match in real life of this level for the first time. They are monsters. A compliment all the more appreciable as the pair is above all a supporter … of OM. But what especially motivated our two Marseillais of heart, it is the reopening of the stadiums: “We missed the atmosphere, blows Jérémy, who celebrates his 25 years this Friday. We had initially planned to go see the footballers of Créteil (National). With the results of the Games, we finally changed our mind during the day. “
“We expected a difficult match because Istres really has a great team,” concludes Vincent Gérard, the hero of the evening. We managed to get into the game and find the automatisms, it’s a great satisfaction. Regarding the public, what a joy to hear something other than the wind when you stop! It is of course very pleasant to be able to commune with him and to hear him cry out. ” And it’s not over.