PLAY HANDBALL: Anja, how do you know Nicola Scholl and PLAY HANDBALL, how did the contact come about?
Anja Althaus: I’ve known Nico for many years, as a fellow player and later also as an opponent. We played together in the youth national team and in Trier I played with her sister, Kathrin Scholl. So I know the whole family very well and both of us were always the crazy chickens in the youth team. At some point our handball ways have been separated, but I have always followed what Nico did. When she went to South Africa, I read about it on Facebook and immediately thought it was a great project. Nicola is an absolutely positive person who achieves everything she dreams of. I loved and love what she is doing. It also takes a lot of courage and I take my hat off to her. At that time I asked her directly what she wanted to achieve with it. She explained everything to me.
What did she say?
Anja Althaus: She said that she loved handball so much and wanted to teach the children more than handball as a sport. She also wants to give them something outside handball, and she does that, for example, through her climate and environmental project, which is part of her outstanding PLAY HANDBALL project.
And you immediately took on the role as ambassador?
Anja Althaus: Of course I was happy to do that. Handball simply connects and even though we haven’t seen each other over the years, we have kept in touch and I think the project is simply world class. I found my way in handball and wanted to use my standing to help something from afar. I hope it works for me and maybe there is even more time for it now.
In summer you stopped your active career, what comes now and is now time to support PLAY HANDBALL even on site?
This is definitely my goal and is on my to-do list. I told Nico that if I don’t make it at the end of this year, I will come next year. After finishing my career, I am consciously taking time for myself. All my life I was determined by handball and now I have to come down a bit. It’s a big break and you have to get used to it first. I take time for myself and my family. Hopefully I’ll make it to South Africa soon, I’ve travelled a lot through handball, but I haven’t seen this part of the world yet. I would like to see the radiant children on site. When I see Nicola’s pictures, my heart opens because it’s so close to my heart. Handball is a big family and a big community. I want to stay connected to the handball world and if I can give this to the kids of PLAY HANDBALL, it would be a great joy for me.
With 243 games, Anja Althaus has the fourth highest number of games in the German Women’s National Handball Team. She is triple Champions-League winner and became champion in Germany, Denmark, Hungary and Macedonia. She won bronze at the 2007 World Cup with the German team (DHB). In summer 2018 she finished her active career and is since November 2018 official ambassador of the EHF Women’s Champions League.