Trefilov’s extended armArticle
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After many difficult periods in her career, Zvezda's playmaker Irina Poltoratskaya, is on top again and wants to win the CL for the second time.

Trefilov’s extended arm

Irina Poltoratskaya is generally known to be the extended arm of coach Evgeni Trefilov in Zvezda Zvenigorod. Even if the strength of the Russian champions is teamwork, Poltoratskaya is a real leader of the team.

61 goals in Zvezda this seasonThe others do what she says. And if the leader has any problem, also the team suffers. This could be seen in the first leg of the final when Zvezda won by 25:24.

No denial: Poltoratskaya had black out. It was her first match in this CL season without a goal as the playmaker scored 61 times in 13 matches so far.

Poltoratskaya was born in 1979 in the Ukraine. She started her great career at the river Don in Russia, at the club of Rostov. She has become Russian champion twice and played her first CL matches in 1997 when she was barely 18. When Trefilov, also Russian national team coach, took Lada Togliatti over and tried to get the best Russian players for the club, Poltoratskaya signed in 2000.

She was European cup winner by then with Rostov. In Togliatti she won the European Cup Winners’ Cup and three Russian championships.

Her biggest success was winning the 2001 World Championship in Italy, where she was voted in the All-star team.

In 2004 it seemed that her great (but short) career would come to an end. Suffering from serious knee problems and undergoing many operations, Poltoratskaya wanted to end her career.

Staying in Russia, may have been the end of it, but she signed a contract with Slagelse in Denmark. The coach of the “Dream Team”, Anja Andersen, took responsibility for Poltoratskaya. With a special treatment, spending most of her time away from the sports hall, everything went okay again; the playmaker could continue.

Poltoratskaya reached everything alreadyPoltoratskaya returned on court to win the Champions League with Slagelse in 2005 and only seven months later she also returned to the Russian NT and won the World Championship in St. Petersburg.

In 2006 she left Denmark and returned to Trefilov and Zvezda. In her first season in Russia she won the domestic title and the EHF Cup. At the 2007 EHF Champions Trophy in Valcea Zvezda finished second and she was voted “Player of the Tournament”.

A few months later (a year after the EURO 2006 bronze in Sweden), Poltoratskaya celebrated again. She won her World Championship title in Paris.

“After returning from Denmark she changed completely,” the Danish coach Martin Albertsson said. “She played world class handball before, but now she shows some emotions and became a real psychological leader of her team.”

With this new power, Poltoratskaya wants to take her team to the top of the podium on Saturday and raise the CL trophy for a second time. 

TEXT: Björn Pazen