GiorgosToulkeridis (Greece): "What I like most in beach handball is that it’s a crazy game"

In 2014, 11-year-old GiorgosToulkeridiswas wandering with his schoolmates in search for something interesting to do, in his home town, Axioupoli,a few kilometres far from the border with North Macedonia.

Eight years later, Toulkeridis is still a pupil but he is a key-player as well in the national team’s campaign at the Men’s Youth Beach Handball World Championships deep inGreece’s south, in the island of Crete.

A town of 3,000 inhabitants, formerly known as Bohemitsa, Axioupoli is the place where the oldest pressure cooker (2,700 years old) was found. Its inhabitants played an important role in the battle of Skra during World War I. Sport-wise handball is what attracts the youngsters most. Second comes football and then it’svolleyball.

I was at school eight years ago and the physical education teacher saw me and my friendsand urged us to go and get to know handball. We were a band of brothers so we went altogether to the local handball club. That was it. We loved the sport and the rest is history…”.

There were five of you, so I guess this bond helped you stay in the sport, right?

Of course. We are still a group of friends hanging out, not only in school or in handball. As a team we have won two local championships and finished in places 5-7 at the national championships three times”.

Do you get any sort of support from the local community?

"Axioupoli is a small town, but they love handball. Whenever we play, the indoor hall is fully packed. Our supporters even check the team’s fixtures to see if it’s possible to follow us at away matches. We have the support of local sponsors as well”.

What do you like most in handball?

"I loved handball for the very first moment. I like it ‘cause it’s a crazy game. The pace is so fast, there is rhythm in it, intensity and passion. You see, I am not a quiet guy. I am a very emotional player and I like to talk while on court”.

Toulkeridis, who’s dream is to study sports medicine and continue playing handball at regional level, is enjoying his stay in Heraklion and the action in the state-of-the-artBeach Sports Centre in Karteros.

"It's fine here. The facilities are awesome, and the organisers are doing an excellent job to make us all feel comfortable. The feeling of playing in your own country and in fact in a world championship is amazing".

How far can Greece go in this World Championship?

The initial goal was to finish among the top-twelve teams. Now that’s been fulfilled, we’ll try to get as higher as possible, to take we really deserve”.








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