Viborg: handball capital of Europe?Article
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Read about the ambitious plans of the Danish women's top team and about the comeback of Chao Zhai at the age of 36.

Viborg: handball capital of Europe?

Winning the Danish championship is not enough for Viborg. The club tries to get an extra income of €11 million by issuing more shares. The club plans to spend the extra income on reinforcements and on building a new arena with the capacity of 7,000 spectators, a sports college and hotel.

Viborg plan to build a bigger sports hallViborg simply want to be the handball capital of Europe. talked to club director, Peter Cassøe. Your aim was to increase your financial assets to €11 million. Is that what it prize to be in top European handball today?

Peter Cassøe: There is no doubt that the competition has become intense in Europe. We have been in the international top for many years now and we would like to stay there, of course. Therefore we want to have a better venue and better basics. Is this because you realised that it would cost more to win the Champions League than expected. You failed to achieve this goal this year?

Peter Cassøe: It is correct that we did not achieve our goals, but we will come back fighting. You are right, however, it takes a lot of money. We need to reinforce our squad and therefore we try to improve our business on other areas too. You want to build a new arena with a capacity of 7,000 spectators. Your current hall, Viborg Stadionhal, can host 3,000 and it is rarely full.

Peter Cassøe: We need better facilities in order to organise more and better events around the handball matches. I’m sure that better facilities will also mean more spectators. We all know that in order to attract spectators you have to play good handball first of all. People expect the CL title next year. How are you going to achieve that?

Peter Cassøe: We evaluate our squad constantly, and I can promise that you will see new players next season. They will be announced in May and there is no doubt that you will see a stronger Viborg next season.


Comeback at the age of 36

After ending her career last year – and giving birth to a daughter – Chao Zhai will return to the 2006 CL winning Danish squad, Viborg.

The world class player will return on court“This year off the court was really good, but now I can feel that I really want to play handball on top level again,” Chao Zhai said. The player is currently working as a teacher in Viborg’s handball college.

“I really want to be part of a team that fights to reach successes together. The feeling of winning major titles cannot be replaced by anything else. I have been watching the team closely and I think I know how to contribute and help the backcourt players,” the middle back added.

Still fit for top handball

In spite of becoming mother in the meantime, Chao Zhai expects to get into the necessary form to play top level handball.

“Of course I’m far from my best form right now, but I started trainings again six weeks after the birth of my daughter. I’m improving all the time, so I’m really looking forward to start again after summer,” she said.

The former Chinese international played for Randers HK before Viborg in Denmark.

“Chao knows the club and majority of the players. This means that she is expected to fit in soon, which is important for the squad,” Viborg´s sports director, Torben Østergaard, said.

“Our strategy is to have two international level players for each position. Chao Zhai fits in perfectly as she is a smart playmaker who understands the game perfectly,” Torben Østergaard added.

TEXT: Peter Bruun