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Date: 4/18/2017

Current Head Coach of the 2017 IHF Men’s World Championship-winning team France and IHF World Coach of the Year for 2016, Didier Dinart, took time out of his hectic schedule to return to his place of birth last week.


Dinart travelled to Guadeloupe - the French overseas department, which is part of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean - where he left as young player to claim numerous championships and awards in a glittering playing career from the 1990s right through to 2013, when he retired to become assistant coach for France.


The four-day visit saw him met by his mother Léonise at Pointe-à-Pitre airport after the eight-hour flight – and he was accompanied by some very special hand baggage: the IHF Men’s World Championship trophy that France collected earlier this year in Paris.


On the first morning of his trip the former line player visited Front-de-Mer college in Lauricisque in Pointe-à-Pitre to discuss handball and his passion for the global sport with students. 


The young people asked the French coach a variety of questions, particularly interested in his journey from the very same island as them where he had lived and his path to international success.


Through his individual passion and interest in the region and through the work of the ‘Corsair Hand Caribbean Tour’ – a partnership between the airline, the French Handball Federation and Dinart himself which IHF.info reported on in 2015 and which last year saw Valentin Porte, Wesley Pardin, Melvyn Richardson and Patrice Annonay visit Guadeloupe – interest in handball has grown in the region with the Front-de-Mer college now actively starting a team later this year in partnership with the Handball League of Guadeloupe.


The aim is to identify the best male and females and direct them through to the Gerville-Réache High School in Basse-Terre, the centre of excellence of handball in Guadeloupe, whose women’s side won the IHF Inter-Continental Trophy in 2015.


“We are in a somewhat disadvantaged neighbourhood,” said Annick Solvar-Désirée, Principal of Front-de-Mer to local media. “We want to open our school to culture and sport and this visit by Didier is a real opportunity to create emulation among our students as we launch a handball team at the college.”


In addition to the school visit, Dinart also visited the Pointe-à-Pitre Medical Centre and showed off the trophy wherever he could.


“It was my duty to bring the trophy back to Guadeloupe – I think that the passage of the trophy is obligatory in the West Indies,” said Dinart to local media. “I was born here and I started here before entering the training centre. As a teenager, I used to go back and forth to Fouillole [campus] for training.


“To give back to the sport what the sport has given you and to share with others means the most to me above all.”


Dinart’s very first handball team was Asup, based in the north-west of Guadeloupe and the 40-year-old also took time to visit them.


"Asup is the club that is in my heart,” he said. “It's important to get back to your roots and not to forget where you've come from.”


“Young people aspire to the same path as Didier Dinart,” said Patrick Bourgeois, President of Asup to local media.


“We have a lot of kids and it's great to bring in new talent – we've been doing detection work for years, trying to attract some young people to the top level and Dinart’s footsteps are of interest to them – they think of going to the training centre as soon as possible now.”


With such a packed diary of events to attend Dinart will be back to Guadeloupe as he looks long-term at the islands of his birth, and maybe, just maybe, he will unearth some future handball world stars.


“Every time I travel to a city, I make an appointment with the league and the local club to exchange with the young unemployed,” continued Dinart to the local media. “We are also conducting operations to bring international players to meet our young players and are very proud of the work we have done.


“We want to pass on our knowledge to young Guadeloupe players, there is a lot of work to do and it involves the detection of young talents and insertion but here is talent and potential here.”


For more information about handball in Guadeloupe visit http://www.ff-handball.org/competitions/championnats-regionaux/guadeloupe.html