THE HEARTBEAT OF: Barbara Lazović

Handball player, national team player, captain of the Krim family, and first and foremost a mother to her 12-year-old son Luka. All this is Barbara Lazović. A great sportswoman with an inspiring story, who proves that women are capable of overcoming even the biggest challenges in life.

Life’s challenges, including motherhood. And it was the latter that marked the beginning of Barbara Lazović‘s professional sports career. She remembers these times with a bitter taste. Pregnancy was not really something that young female athletes faced, which made it all the more difficult for her. She took a long time to gather courage before revealing the (otherwise happy) news to the team.

»I was driving to the game with my teammates (Sergeja Stefanišin, Andrea Kobetić, Jelena Grubišić and Andrea Lekić) and I told them that I felt I was pregnant. They convinced me that I wasn’t, but a few days later it turned out that they were wrong.«

Once I had a child, I put him first.

But it was a bit the other way around when it came to her coach Marta Bon. »Before I even told her, she asked me if I was expecting a baby. She sensed it and took the news beautifully, so I am still immensely grateful to her. I was lucky that the coach at the time was a woman who understood me even more at that moment.«

Lazović has played in the semi-finals of the elite Champions League in 2012/13. On 13 April, she played in front of almost full stands at Arena Stožice and then went on maternity leave. She gave birth in September. And even though the journey of Krima Mercator ended right before the finals, the current captain of the Krim family remembers with a smile the statement of her coach at the time: »Even though we didn’t win a medal, we got Luka.«


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She returned to handball quickly, three months after giving birth to be precise. In 2013, she played with Krim in the semi-finals of Europe’s most elite club competition. In front of a nearly full Stožice arena. When she thinks back to those days, she doesn’t understand how she managed to do it all, but she is proud of herself at the same time. She is also proud of the fact that in 2014 she moved to Macedonia with Luka to play for Vardar. She has no regrets about her decision, even though she turned down some handball greats.

»Once I had a child, I put him first. I chose the clubs where I would feel most comfortable with him. I had a really good time in Macedonia because the conditions were excellent. Luka was already in kindergarten and during the afternoon training sessions he played in the playroom of the hall where I was training. The only time I had a babysitter was when I was away with the team.«

If she had a good time in Macedonia, it was even harder in the Romanian capital. She moved to Bucharest in 2018, when her son was already at school. They spent a lot of time on the road, in rush hour traffic. There were also more games. These were the moments when our interviewee wanted to give up.

It was very exhausting, I didn’t know how to go on. I didn’t feel good on the court, I didn’t enjoy playing handball anymore.

The spark was rekindled a little later, when the then 31-year-old Lazović signed for Budućnost Podgorica. A lot of the credit for this goes to the current head coach of Krim Mercator Dragan Adžić, who was the manager of the Montenegrin club in those days.

Later, there was another move to Bucharest, Romania. This was the time of the coronavirus epidemic, when her son was attending school online. Then, at the time of her knee injury, Luka travelled to Kuwait with his father and Barbara’s husband (also a professional handball player), and the frequent change of schools is currently interrupted by his schooling in Slovenia. He is now on an international programme, as he sees English as his first language.

His first sport is basketball, despite having been involved in both the women’s and men’s handball worlds all his life.

Luka is my biggest support and my biggest critic. Every compliment he gives me is worth gold, and every criticism he gives me makes me sad.

His time among professional athletes taught him a lot, according to his mother. He has the winning drive, the motivation. And although it was often difficult for Lazović, which she is even more aware of now when she looks back on those times, she is adamant that it was worth it. She is proud of her son, who is extremely bright and communicative for his age, and an irreplaceable support for her every step of the way.