FEATURE: Part of the EHF 'Handball Inspires Generations' campaign, Isabelle Gulldén is an idol for many kids but it isn't just talent that has made her into one of the sport's biggest stars
Gulldén: “I want to inspire kids with what I do”
Isabelle Gulldén is “obviously aware” that she is an idol to many kids.
“I feel that in particular when I am in Sweden, or when I receive an email or a message through social media,” says the 29-year-old Gulldén, the Swedish centre back who plays for French Women’s EHF Champions League team Brest Bretagne Handball.
“First of all, I try to be myself, though, and also to communicate this through the social media as well,” she says, adding with a smile: “However, you will probably always try to paint a slightly more positive picture of yourself than you can actually live up to.”
"I know how much handball has given me"
She is happy if she can inspire children to start playing handball, or to keep them doing it.
“It means that I am doing something right,” Gulldén says. “Personally, I love handball very much, and I know how much that sport has given me. Therefore, I would like to make as many kids as possible play handball, so they can get the same feeling.”
Now a role model featured in EHF's ‘Handball Inspires Generations’ campaign, Gulldén herself has been inspired by several handball stars as well.
“No player is absolutely perfect, but there are so many qualities in the players I have been looking up to,” she says. “Gro Hammerseng’s handball intelligence, Bojana Popovic’s ability to always be good when needed, Grit Jurack’s eye for the game. You can always find good qualities at different players who are magic.”
Talent alone is not enough to reach the top
Her love for handball has contributed a lot to Gulldén’s career, as her passion has made her want to work as hard as needed to reach the top.
“I have always had some talent, but I say that talent alone is not enough,” she says. “You have to train hard to reach the top. Norway are a perfect example of that: they are the best trained players in the world, and they have been winning for years. Luck comes to those who earn it.”
Gulldén joined Brest this summer from CSM Bucuresti. For the Romanian side she scored an amazing total of 15 goals in the Women’s EHF Champions League Final against Györ Audi ETO KC in 2016.
The move to France has been a huge change for her.
"An injury is just a question of continue fighting to get back"
“French handball is much more individual than what I am used to. It was hard for me to get adjusted to that at the beginning, and the language was also a challenge,” she says.
Just when she started to settle in with the team, Gulldén picked up a calf injury in a match against Rostov-Don.
“In such a situation it is just a question of continue fighting to get back,” she says, adding that the injury should not prevent her from playing for Sweden at the EHF EURO 2018.
“I expect to be fit for the EURO,” she says with another smile.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ew
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