Richardson, Mahe ... Why do the "sons of" pierce at the highest level at the hand?

Jackson Richardson and his son Melvyn, who will play the World Handball Championship with the France team. - STEVE JORDAN and SEBASTIEN BOZON / Editing
  • The French team, double title defender, begins its World Cup this Friday night against Brazil.

  • In his ranks, a new kid with the well-known name, Melvyn Richardson.

  • Son of Jackson, he is with Kentin Mahé (son of Pascal) the symbol of a family transmission that works particularly well in handball.

That's one thing, when you follow the sport closely, which happens much earlier than you had planned. The big shots of old barely thirty years ago, we must know how to cash. Handball, in particular, is something to cheer you to zero. Teen memories of
Barjots are not quite yellowed yet that their children are already preparing for a world championship. In the meantime, maybe one day, Ewan Kervadec or the brothers Gaudin, Kentin Mahé and Melvyn Richardson - the 17th man at the moment - are part of the France group that will start the competition on Friday night against Brazil.

"He does not fulfill the role of the old experienced handball player, but first of all that of father"

If the first, already double world champion, is a familiar face, the general public will discover the second with curiosity. It's hard to be different when your father, a certain Jackson, was the first big star of the sport. Yet nothing seems to disturb Melvyn. At 21, the player
Montpellier tackles the subject without embarrassment or annoyance, while we must be the 853rd person to question him on it since it began.

"I've always seen it as an advantage to have a father who knows the environment," he says immediately. Beyond the technical or tactical aspects, I could not have better advice for managing my career. But above all he does not fulfill the role of the old experienced handballer, he fills first that of father. We have always had a good relationship. "

The son does not see the surname as a burden. Maybe because he loved the hand before really realizing who his father was. "I was going to games very small, but for me I mainly went to see dad work," he says. Sport fanatic, he tried football, tennis, judo and swimming. His arrival at the hand, at age 8, has nothing to do with the family, he says. "When I arrived in Chambéry, my friends were handballing. I started to be with them, and we had so much fun that I never wanted to stop. "

The player he has become has little to do with the paternal style. Jackson, right-handed, was spinning at the half-center post, stealing balloons, inventing things. Melvyn, southpaw, is more versatile, more powerful, more aerial. Apart from a certain passion for the 7-meter jets, the difference is even greater between Pascal Mahé, strong defender in charge of bass, and his son Kentin, winger or semi-center very creative. There remains the example, a notion which one wonders why it works so well in this sport.

Some had more talent, but not the same parents

"I do not know, it's a good question, breath Kentin Mahé. There may be fewer contenders than in other sports already. After, was it because we dragged all our childhood in the rooms, we saw the best players and we tried to imitate them, it allowed us to climb to the top level? Me, anyway, it brought me to see my father train hard, to know that he always repeated the same gestures to succeed. Players certainly had more talent than us at the age of 15 but did not have this experience and parents who raised them to the requirement. "

The parents of Mickael Guigou did not reach the high level, but both were players then coaches, before founding the club Apt (Vaucluse) when he was 2 years old. "I always had a balloon in my hand," he recalls. Your parents often pass on their passion to you, after you take it or not. For me, it was done naturally. It's a set of things, complicated to explain. "

Wise among the sages of his 36 years, the winger who knew everything with the Blues is a privileged witness of the transmission between the two Richardson. He began his international career with the father, he will finish with the son. "I saw how Jackson accompanied him, and I know there was no bad pressure. Because that's the risk. When you come from the high level, you can be too present, know too many people, and in the end, be more harmful than anything else. "

"They are not their father"

The secret of success lies in the intelligence of the parents, and their ability to find the right balance between support and abandonment. A compromise surely easier to find in the hand, which combines both the excellence of training and a certain media tranquility, as in football. For example.

"The only thing to understand is that they are not their father," says captain Cédric Sorhaindo. What Kentin and Melvyn realize at their age is very good. I think they have a stronger character than others. Genes must be used for something, anyway.