Monday, January 17

Have experienced insults: Tønnesen’s tough way back to the top

KOŠICE (VG) He has struggled with adversity and injuries. Kent Robin Tønnesen only got 10 seconds on the track in the Olympics. But now Norway’s left wing is back after a club change that has aroused emotions in Hungary.

LIFE SMILES: Kent Robin Tønnesen is back after many problems and is ready for the second European Championship match in Košice.

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It took only a few seconds before it narrowed in the European Championship opening against Slovakia. Tønnesen scored four goals and hammered away the match’s hardest shot – measured at 136 km / h organizer tracking.

– There has been a lot of adversity and injuries. But now I have much more playing time and got the rhythm into my body, he says before Saturday’s key match against Russia in Steel Arena.

Kent Robin Tønnesen is one of the founders of the Norwegian men’s success. He squeezed in 50 goals in the two breakthrough championships – Poland-EC in 2016 (4th place) and WC in France 2017 (silver). He became a profile with his long hair, wide smile and shoe size 50.

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– There are many who want to move up and forward on the national team. A wonderful place to be, he describes.

But a broken arm and a torn Achilles tendon ruined both the World Cup in 2019 and the European Championships the following year. Tønnesen’s injuries cost him a lot. Suddenly he had neither the rank of the Hungarian champions Veszprém nor of the Norwegian national team.

DAD «KENTE»: Kent Robin Tønnesen with his daughter Philippa on his actual home court.

The Alpine national team’s former physical trainer, Lars Mæland, has helped Tønnesen a lot with the training after the Achilles operation three years ago. He got the chance in the World Cup last winter, but the foundation was flimsy after injuries and benching. When Magnus Abelvik Rød returned in this summer’s Olympics, Tønnesen was behind both him and Harald Reinkind in the queue at right back.

It came with a ten-second substitution in defense.

– I do not hide that I would have liked to have played. But it is a process to come back and find the shape. I was not good enough. It takes time to get back to the level I was at before the injury. That is the goal. That’s why I play, says Tønnesen.

GOOD HALF HOUR: Kent Robin Tønnesen scored four goals in a half-hour game in the European Championship opening. Here he attacks Slovakia together with Christian O’Sullivan.

By then he had already taken the grip that made many Hungarians react. The club nomad did not extend his contract after four seasons in Veszprém. He, on the other hand, went to hereditary enemy Pick Szeged. It’s like switching from Barcelona to Real Madrid. Or the opposite. Luis Figo has tried. He had a pig’s head thrown at him when he returned to Camp Nou.

Tønnesen received several verbal pig heads when he returned to Veszprém Arena in November. The match took complete fire with two red cards – one to Veszprém captain Rasmus Lauge – before the drama ended 26-26.

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– The supporter culture in Hungary is quite hard. Both were said. It’s fine for me. I didn’t really notice much during the match. It passes quickly, he describes. But the club change has been a success except for the Champions League loss to Elverum. Tønnesen has scored 66 goals in 23 games for Szeged.

Kent Robin Tønnesen’s Swedish father was born in the Swedish handball heart Partille near Gothenburg. After games for Fjellhammer and Haslum, he returned to Sävehof when his professional life started 10 years ago. In 2012, he also got his first championship for Norway. Now he plays his eighth final game and can pass 100 goals in the European Championships and World Cup against the Russians on Saturday. Tønnesen is listed with 97 goals.

His career gained momentum when he became a teammate with the legend Ivano Balic through two seasons in German Wetzlar. The journey continued to Füchse Berlin before coming to Hungary five years ago.

LONG-TERM: Kent Robin Tønnesen has been in a relationship with his cohabitant Madelen since he was 14. Here is the couple with their newborn daughter right after the World Cup silver in 2017.

Cohabitant Madelen Svankil Westby has been on the entire tour abroad. Kent Robin from Rælingen became friends with Madelen from Lillestrøm already when he was 14. They have long since become parents to Philippa (5 years).

– It is clear that it has been important to have them with us. It is important to get the handball disconnected as well, he says.

Neither Tønnesen nor Norway have met Russia since they were beaten 28-24 on the way to the World Cup final five years ago. But a couple of Russians have crossed his tracks. National team manager Velimir Petković was his coach last season in Füchse Berlin, while right winger Daniil Shishkarev was his teammate in Veszprém.

Shishkarev scored seven when the Russians had to struggle to beat Lithuania 29-27 in the European Championship opening.

– It’s going to be fun. A close match against a team with many good players and a coach I know well. It requires a good match to win against Russia, predicts Kent Robin Tønnesen.

His qualities as a football player have often been a topic among handball boys. Here from the last World Cup:

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