Richardson, Mahé, Dujshebaev, or the Obelix Syndrome

Against Russia, Melvyn Richardson (No. 9) played his first match in international competition in the blue jersey, fourteen years after the retirement of his father.
Against Russia, Melvyn Richardson (No. 9) played his first match in international competition in the blue jersey, fourteen years after the retirement of his father. Soeren Stache / AP

What is the common point between Melvyn Richardson, Kentin Mahé, and brothers Alex and Dani Dujshebaev? In addition to playing on the floor of the Cologne Arena on Saturday, 19 January, during the France-Spain match (18 hours), the first meeting of the main round of the World Cup, their names resonate familiarly in the ear of the amateur of handball.

Not surprising. They are all "sons of". Jackson Richardson, French side, and Talant Dujshebaev, between Russia and Spain, were two of the best semi-centers in the world in the years 1990-2000. Pascal Mahé was responsible for the bass works in defense in the team Barjots, world champion in 1995.

This filiation can sometimes create confusion. At the time of announcing the entry of Richardson in the list of Blues, the IHF, the International Handball Federation, has made a slight mistake. If Melvyn is the one who replaces Nicolas Claire in the French group, the official website of the competition announced the return of Jackson in the blue jersey ... fourteen years after the retirement of Barjot. "I called him to congratulate him because it was he who integrated the workforce, had fun the Montpellier southpaw in The Team after France-Russia. It was a surprise. "

Entry full of promise for Melvyn Richardson

Her entry into the game, full of audacity against the Russians, did not surprise her coach. "He showed very beautiful things", appreciated Didier Dinart. Applied in defense, and effective in attack, the son of Jackson scored four goals in the first period for his first match in international competition at the Blues.

If the powerful and ethereal play of the southpaw does not resemble the inventive and swirling of his right-handed father, impossible for Melvyn Richardson to avoid comparison with the one who was the first hexagonal star of handball. "It's part of the game", smiles the 22-year-old, whose versatility - he can evolve to three positions - offers many options to his coach.

Responding to the 8,327e question (by sight) on his father, the neophyte of the Blues does not formalize it. "I'm doing the same sport that he shone in, it's normal for me to be asked about him. "

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If the phenomenon of "sons of" in sport is far from being restricted to the small ball, the handball seems an environment conducive to their hatching. If they are not necessarily sons of internationals, among the Blues, the Karabatic brothers, Michaël Guigou or Nedim Remili come from families of handballers. "There may be fewer contenders than in other sports"breath Kentin Mahé.

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Fallen in when they were small

"We never asked our sons to be high-level athletes, on the contrary, we insisted on their education and their cultural background, reported at the beginning of the month Talant Dujshebaev to the newspaper El Mundo. They never felt this pressure and freely chose their sport after testing football, basketball, golf and even tennis. "

Current coach Kielce in Poland, where he leads his son Alex, Didier Dinart's mentor when he was still a player - he was his coach in Ciudad Real - includes the children of professional players who followed the path of their parents. Like Obelix, they fell in when they were little.

"Handball is our life, my wife and I, insists the coach of Kyrgyz origin. Alex and Dani bathe in since they are very young and they exchange with the players of our teams without worrying that they are huge stars. "

Son of Talant Dujshevbaev, Alex Dujshebaev, here against Croatia, disputed the World Cup with his brother Dani.
Son of Talant Dujshevbaev, Alex Dujshebaev, here against Croatia, disputed the World Cup with his brother Dani. ANDREAS GEBERT / REUTERS

Like Stephen Curry in basketball, who spent part-time shooter matches with his father's teammates, Dell Curry (Toronto Raptors in particular), Kentin Mahé said he spent his childhood in handball halls , in contact with the best.

"To hang out in the halls, see my father train hard and always repeat the same gestures to succeed, we want to emulate the best, recalls the author of three decisive goals late in the game against Russia, Thursday, Jan. 17, to clinch the victory. And we end up not bad, until wearing the jersey of our national team. Yes, it certainly opened more doors than it closed to me. "

"I'm settling on my father's step"

"For me, it has always been an advantage to have a father who knows the environment, abounds Melvyn Richardson, crowned European champion in club with Montpellier in spring 2018. In addition to the technical and tactical issues, it's hard to get better advice for managing my career. ".

"My father gave me a lot of advice on how to manage the effort and lifestyle required for a professional handball player. And it can give a bit of a lead on others, " prolongs Nedim Remili.

See you Saturday on the grounds of the arena of the Rhine city. In a rematch of the last semifinal of the Euro, which had seen Spain take the best of the Blues and make them completely thwart.

"Last year, we did not play for sixty minutes. This game, we will really play it », warns Didier Dinart which is the only defeat in competition since he took charge of the destiny of the Blues in 2016.

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Last year, Melvyn Richardson witnessed this defeat on television. "We will try not to repeat the mistakes of last year, and try to win this crucial victory in the race to the semi-finals", insists the rear-right who, like the sons Dujshebaev and Mahé, can make his own the antiphon repeated by Guillaume Canet to Jean Yanne in the eponymous film of 1998. "I'm settling on my father's step, I'm settling on my father's step".

France - Spain, Saturday, January 19th at 6 pm (on TMC and BeIN Sports 3)

Clément Martel (Cologne, special envoy)

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