05. 05. 2020

INTERVIEW: Hermans Egleskalns for WoV - "Our home win against Warsaw - performance of the season"

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Hermans Egleskalns, the Latvian national team players can't wait to return to the court.

 

The COVID 19 Coronavirus has prevented all volleyball clubs from finishing their championships and that was the case with Hermans' club Tours. 

How do you spend your time these days considering all the restrictions?

Well, now I get a chance to spend more time with my wife and our one-year-old son, so my days revolve around his schedule more or less. There is much more time to study, read some books and enjoy some time off from volleyball and sometimes we athletes also need it. Even though now I'm starting to miss it.”

How difficult is it to stay in shape?

It's almost impossible to be in volleyball shape considering the situation and no opportunity to lift weights as we do during the season, but I try to stay creative. Working with elastic bands, doing unilateral and stability exercises. Deadlifting a sofa or squatting with my wife on the shoulders literally, sometimes works as well. This could be also a great time to work on endurance, running outside, bodyweight CrossFit and so on. Not trying to be in the best shape of my life right now, but enough to be able to restart quickly enough with volleyball when the time comes.”

The 2019/2020 season was good for you even though it had to be canceled. What are your impressions about it?

There is always room for improvement, but yes, it was a pretty good year for me and for the team as well. There were, of course, some ups and downs and some injuries in the team. Sadly, one of our main players Konstantin Čupkovič was injured almost all the season, so the extra toll on other outside hitters was quite big. The start of the season was a bit rocky and we lost some games that we shouldn't have, but afterward, we started to win step by step. We managed to have a good winning streak, 10 or 11 games in a row, but in the end, we lost our last 3 games in the Championship in some really tough battles, but still managed to stay 1st. We were supposed to play the final 4 of the French Cup, but sadly it got canceled because of the COVID 19. The end of the season was very abrupt, quick and very strange like everywhere, I guess.”

Are you satisfied with your performances in the CEV Champions League?

It's hard to be satisfied when you know that you can do better. As a team and individually we started the Champions league really bad. A bad loss in Warsaw and at home against Perugia. Of course, these are great teams, but honestly, we should have played better. But after those two losses, we started to improve and the end of our Champions league run was really good. Our home win against Warsaw at home was probably the best game and performance of the season.”

After spending 3 seasons in Tours, you’ve decided to leave. Why?

It happens a lot in sports. Players change clubs, it normal. I've played in France for the last 4 years and 2 years before that with Chaumont, so almost half of my pro career in France. It's time to try playing in some other championship as well, with new challenges in a club with an interesting project. I'm still in that stage in my career where I can try new things. It's very hard to leave France already now because we have many friends here and we love the country, but settling and putting our roots in one place is not a priority as a family and volleyball wise as well.”

What are your plans for the next season?

For now, we're exploring our options and waiting for some interesting offers from the teams.  I try to stay in the present and get focused on what I can do now. So being in good shape and working on my weaknesses is a priority for the offseason. And if there will be National team this summer and EC qualifiers I will play there as well.”

How coronavirus is going to affect volleyball?

That's a very difficult question. I'm really not a specialist in the matter and we are living in a very unprecedented time, so I will try not to speculate on that. But I think there will be definitely some negative economic effects. How hard it will hit and how soon I have no idea. It's also a big question if there will be full gyms with spectators any time soon even if the championships restart in autumn. Maybe sports, in general, will be televised or streamed online more in the future, hard to say, but there will be some short term as well as long term changes.”

Are you still in France and please explain the situation about the coronavirus from your point of view?

Yes, we're still in France. The club gives permission for us to stay in the apartment that they provide during the season until the end of June. So, we wait until the situation with coronavirus gets a bit easier before we try to go home. It seems to improve a little by little and from 11th May rules for the lockdown will be lightened here in France. Our everyday lives are affected of course. We have to fill a document every time we go out, even if it's just for a short walk and not going out for more than 1 hour a day is pretty hard. I try to stay positive though and focus on my family.  We are looking to go home in the second part of May.  In Latvia the situation is not as bad as here, a small number of cases and deaths and life is almost normal. That's at least what I hear from my family and friends, but when we come back we will have to spend 14 days in quarantine anyway so we wait until the time is right and we can spend it in our country house instead of being cramped in an apartment.”

A message for the volleyball community.

Summing things up I just want to wish good luck to everyone and take care of yourselves and your close ones! Stay safe, strong and positive!

 

Check out more interviews.


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