5th October 2018
London GD player Ilaria Di Pastena brought her club side back to her hometown for a special handball tournament.
Italian club side Pallamano Pontinia organised a special tournament in memory of club player Marica Bianchi, who died this summer. The tournament coincided with what would have been Marica’s 20th birthday.
Ilaria grew up playing for Pontinia before moving to London, and brought GD to play in the tournament which also featured teams local to Pontinia.
GD lost their opening game but went on to win the tournament overall. However, the event was about more than sport, says Ilaria. ‘It was not just handball, it was celebrating an athlete and a person. It was really, really nice.’
Ilaria says playing against her former club felt strange. ‘It was a bit weird to play against my home town team,’ she laughs, ‘but it was fun!’
Pallamano Pontinia made sure all visiting teams had a fantastic experience. ‘All the teams stayed, there was music and food – Italian food – it was nice. I could tell the family was really touched by all the girls that came, and were celebrating.
‘It was a very good experience – something different from normal. It was really not just about handball. There were a group of volunteers driving us around, taking us to the beach, and I really wanted my team to see as much as they could of my hometown and have a good experience.’