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the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in sight

An exceptional goalkeeper, a fighter. In club or within the French handball team, his judgments are inadmissible. Cléopatre Darleux is one of the most emblematic champions.

The nicknames of the athletes? Mark of respect (in general) and talent. The King for Lebron James, Good kid for Cyril Gane … And the Wall – blue or Brest, it depends – for Cléopatre Darleux, goalkeeper of the French handball team and the Brest club, It puts a slight pressure isn’t it? But only for her adversaries because Miss Darleux has this incredible gift of remaining in an impassable bubble. Born in sunny Wittenheim on July 1, 1989, the young Alsatian started playing handball at the age of 8. A family story: his mother is a passionate player, just like his older sister. Love at first sight is immediate. A fierce competitor, she quickly stood out. The teenager confirms the expectations, in the Pôle Espoir then in the training center.

At 16, Cléopatre Darleux is part of the Entente Sportive Bisontine and specializes as a goalkeeper. “I’m better in goal because I was too aggressive on the pitch. Goals calm me down, I’m zen”, explains the champion on ÀBLOCK!. A choice that will quickly pay off. With an extraordinary agility and speed, she will play first division matches without even having signed a professional contract. And she makes everyone agree. At 18, first pro contract with the Issy-les-Moulineaux club. Her first season went rather well, so well that she was called up to the France team at the start of the following season, on October 14, 2008 to be precise. And during the 2009 World Cup, who is part of the silver medal group? Cléopatre Darleux, the Blue Wall, of course. First line on the player’s list and certainly not the last.

Cléopatre Darleux: an impressive track record

In club, the Alsatian is not badly strolled. In France, between Metz, Brest, Paris, Nice, but also abroad. His fame goes well beyond the borders of France. From 2012 to 2014, the goalkeeper was part of the Danish club Viborg. Two successful seasons, with a Cup Winners’ Cup, a championship and two Danish Cups. And this Nordic road trip isn’t the only place Cléopatre Darleux cuts to the chase on a winning team. With her French clubs, she won three league cups, three French cups and three championships. Last season, with her Brest teammates, she even climbed to the Champions League final, too bad this time the step was too high.

In the French team, successes are also raining down! Three world silver medals, another at Euro 2020. And above all, gold at the 2017 World Cup and Olympic victory in Tokyo in 2021. The Wall is having a hard time moving its suitcase of trophies, for its most great pleasure. “Winning medals, being distinguished, also gave me great recognition. It’s important when you start, when you’re young. Because I was afraid of not being good enough, of not being in my place”, recognizes the champion.
In 2022, doubts have evaporated. “Today, I know that I can perform in the field and build my house, work in my garden. Handball makes me feel like a wonderwoman”, she exults on ÀBLOCK!.

Sure of her strength, she continues to shine on and off the court. Cléopatre Darleux does not lack conviction, even less when it comes to the rights of sportswomen. “There are plenty of fights to fight, yes. We work as much as the men’s teams, but we don’t have the same salarys,” she laments.
But the tide is turning. With sportswomen of this caliber, it is difficult to swim against the tide: “In the France team, we achieve enormous results, recalls Cléopatre Darleux, and it is thanks to this that we manage to get people talking about us and to move towards more equality. It is very important for the future of women’s handball that young girls can identify with players.

And the handball player will still make them dream. Targeted ? Paris 2024: “I know I won’t play until I’m 40. But I also know that I will be 35 for Paris 2024 and that I want to be there!

Read Cléopatre Darleux’s interview on ÀBLOCK!

TOBLOCK! The sport that moves the lines

I write for ABLOCK! media. No wonder since I am passionate about sports, with a (big) weakness for Co sports, I also play basketball. Otherwise ? I do …

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