hummel meets Valentin Porte
Which court did you play handball on for the first time?
The first time I played was in Toury, which is a small country town in the Paris area that I moved to with my parents. That’s when I first got to know about handball, and where I first stepped foot onto a handball court.
What was it like playing handball as a child in France?
As I said, Toury was a small country town. When we arrived, my new friends all played handball. Since it’s a small town, a small village, there were not a lot of sports and so it was handball straight away. At first, it was with friends: practice on Wednesdays, games on Saturdays. Just like that, just with friends.
What is a really good home court for you?
Today, it’s important that I feel at home. And, as you say, it is my home court. At the court in Montpellier, we have our audience and fans, there’s a crazy atmosphere. And when we arrive on the court, it gives us strength and much more. It’s where we feel at our best.
What does Les Bleus mean to you?
Well, I’ve known “les Bleus” since I was little. I watched them on TV with Karabatić, Gille, Narcisse, all the star players. And when I found out that I was going to play with that team, I was scared at first. It was hard at first, because I had seen them play on TV and being there, beside them, talking to them, it was something unbelievable. It’s a great honour for me to be part of that team today, to represent my country, to represent the French national team. That’s how I was raised: it’s a great honour and I would give everything to support my country.
What did it take for you to get here from when you were a child playing in small courts?
Well, today we’re seen as stars, as professionals, and everything is lovely, but it hasn’t always been easy. Getting to this point has been very difficult. I left home very early on and I don’t see my family very much. It's difficult. We see each other once or twice a year, so that’s a sacrifice I really feel, as I’m someone who likes to have contact with my family and everything. It was very difficult for me at the beginning of my career to live like that. It’s different now, today, but people don’t realise that playing at a professional level can still be complicated.
When do you have that feeling that you “own” the court?
I don’t think about much. I think about how lucky I am to be there and I have fun, every day in training and on the court. I live for it. I’m a big player. I live to play ball, to play handball, to play anything. That's why I want to improve, what helps me to improve, and why I take a lot of pleasure from all the days I spend on the court.
Obviously you’re a good friend of hummel, and last year, we created a special edition shoe for you. What makes hummel handball shoes special to you?
As you said, hummel created a special pair of shoes and line of clothing for me, which included the VP28. And I was really touched by it, because I was looking for an atmosphere of trust and exchange, and hummel understood that very well. With their shoes, they’ve shown a lot of interest in me and that matters to me a lot. So I’m thankful to them. Today, I play wearing the shoes they created for me and I like them a lot. It’s a great honour for me. I'm very happy to be with hummel.
How do you like the new Dual Plate Power?
The new shoes are very good. I can’t wait to see what they’re going to bring to my game.