THE HEARTBEAT OF: Jovanka Radičević

Jovanka Radičević. A handball player who we believe needs no introduction. But in short: since last season, the all-time top scorer in the EHF Champions League and a player with a rich sporting career that, despite being 37 years old, still has no end in sight. If we put aside her top achievements for a moment, two words describe her best. Passion and Dedication.

Traits that have been with her since she was a little girl. Since 23 October 1986, when the Queen of Handball was born. She grew up in Vukovci, a small village near Podgorica, and handball was practically laid in her cradle. Her mother was a Yugoslav national team player, at the time when the famous Vinko Kandija was wielding the selector’s baton.

Handball was love at first sight. From the very first training session, I knew it was the sport that was right for me and that I wanted to do.

She has done a lot of hard work to break into the European top, but she has always seen discipline and dedication as the recipe for success. Both on and off the handball court.

»All the work is now paid back. The awards and accolades I receive are an additional motivation in my sporting journey and show that I am and still am working in the right direction. With the right amount of love

Love and inner peace, which is what she always strives for on game day. Although she is energetic and very open, she has to be alone at the ”decisive moments”. Alone with herself. In her apartment, where she resorts to cleaning.

And it is precisely because of her excellence that Radičević’s statistics and records, which she breaks from game to game, are no longer kept up. She says that her source of information is social networks and her mother.

I feel at home here at Krim and Ljubljana.

»Every award, every recognition and every medal is special in its own way. But to be the all-time top scorer in the EHF Champions League is something incredible. Winning the silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games also holds a special place in my memory. But I will never forget Wednesday, 9 November 2022, and the way the home fans thanked me for my national team contribution in my last game at the Moraca Sports Center.«

Now (probably) the best right-wing handball player of all time lives in Ljubljana. In the city she realised during her time playing in Kastamonu, Turkey, could become the next destination in her rich sporting journey. In 2021, the club’s ambitions grew with a change in the coaching chair and Radičević knew it was time for a new chapter in the incredible history of the most successful women’s sports team.

»The club and the people who work there are professional. The players get everything they need. Plus, I feel at home here. I got used to my ”new” life very quickly, they welcomed me very well, so I don’t feel like I’m abroad at all. That’s the most important thing for me.«

To be the all-time top scorer in the EHF Champions League is something incredible. Winning the silver medal at the London 2012 Olympics also holds a special place in my memory.

Despite leaving her native Montenegro at the age of 24, she still has a hard time without her family. Everyone watches her games regularly – her father and mother most of all, but her brother and sister rarely miss a game.

»They visit me when they can. My parents have been to Ljubljana twice so far. I can say that they like it here. The city is peaceful and has a soul. And of course they also like Bled, which has its own charm.«