Vizcaino making up for lost time with Atlètic

Rising Atlètic Terrassa star Marc Vizcaino is hoping to continue his already remarkable 2023 after an injury-plagued 2022 as the 22-year-old looks to captain his side at ABN AMRO EHL FINAL8.

15 months ago, he was floating on air when he made his Spanish debut off the back of a stunning set of performances in the Copa del Rey.

It seemed to be the jump-off for his arrival on the international stage; but a hernia issue got more and more complicated, ruling him out of the 2022 EHL and rolled on for another 10 months.

“It was a very difficult period for me,” he told Atlètic Terrassa’s EHL magazine. “What was initially supposed to be three months, ended up going on and on when I was supposed to be enjoying the best moment of my sports career.

“It was a long recovery process and the type of injury involved a lot of patience and perseverance in the recovery work.”

All told, he did not play between January and November and yet, once he returned, he emerged almost better than ever. 

“Once I was able to rejoin the team, I felt very good and recovered faster than expected in the last leg. This allowed me to re-enter the World Cup selection process and end up being part of the 18 called up.

“It was unthinkable a few months before. It was a difficult time but I took great lessons that will certainly serve me in the future.”

After the World Cup and an impressive set of performances in Australia in the Pro League, Vizcaino is back in the club fold with Atlètic, winning a Copa del Rey silver and sitting second in the Spanish league.

Next stop, the EHL where the club are looking to win another medal to add to their 2021 silver; in the past few years, 13 players made their EHL debuts with huge names like Roc Oliva, Sergi Enrique, Marc Bolto, Albert Beltran and Ignasi Torras moving in.

But Vizcaino dismisses talk of it ever being a “transition”, given the strength of youth development at the club.

“In a club like ours, I don’t like to talk about transition. Yes, it is true we suffered many important casualties and we have a very young team, but the great school we have at our disposal allows us to raise players to the level capable of competing at the highest level.

“This was demonstrated last season [winning the championship and cup]; the fact having a very young team, we don’t see it as an excuse but as a virtue.”

And last year’s experience – losing to Bloemendaal, beating SV Arminen – has helped give the youngsters a solid grounding of what is required.

“The EHL, and specifically the FINAL8, is a competition where only the best come and means competing at a higher pace than we are used to. The previous experience of the vast majority of players will prevent this change of rhythm from surprising us and we will know how to deal with it. 

“On the other hand, we will also avoid the nerves of participating for the first time that took their toll on us in the first minutes of the last editions”.

As for FINAL8 opponents, he is expecting: “a very complete team, with internationally renowned players”. 

“I expect a very well contested match where each team will have its opportunities and I think it will end up being decided by small details. We need to keep a close eye on their star player Antoine Kina.

“This season, the goal we set for ourselves as a team was to take a step forward that would allow us to compete in Europe against the best. This meant improving performance in training, matches and day-to-day habits.

“The situations we will face will demand the best version of each player and, from previous experience with this team, we have seen that we find it when the team is together and everyone helps.”