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Max Dopken and his handball adventure in Australia

Living in Australia is expensive. “It’s actually very expensive,” says Max Tapken. Food, going to bars and restaurants, accommodation – before the handball player began his year of work and travel in August, it was clear that he would not be living a life of luxury. The 22-year-old works hard to have as much fun as possible. He picked apples at a farm, hauled crates to warehouses, and often stayed in cheap hostels. But recently, for Corral-born Max Dopken, it was a star hotel rather than a hostel. Because with the Sydney University team, the right-winger took part in the prestigious Super Globe, the Club World Championship in Saudi Arabia. “It was a really amazing experience,” he says.

But first things first. When Topcon decided to take a sabbatical in Australia after successfully completing his apprenticeship as a car salesman, he knew he’d be looking for a local club. “I want to be fit here in terms of handball,” he says. The former TV Kloppenburg player found what he was looking for on Instagram – he played in his youth and later for the Oberliga men: Max Tapken auditioned for the Sydney University team – and believed. “It’s a motley crew of guys from nine or ten countries,” he says.

After some practice, Dopken and co. They went on to the Super Globe round in Daman, Saudi Arabia, for which Sydney University qualified as winners of the championships in Australia and Oceania.

“Colorful Bunch”: Handball players from many countries play on a university team in the Australian city of Sydney. Max Dopken (back, third from right) is not the only German. Photo: University of Sydney

The first opponent was none other than the reigning German champions: SC Magdeburg. “It was good to go up against players you only see on TV,” says Max Tapken. No wonder his team had no chance against the full pros at 23:41 (8:20). Nor is it true that Magdeburg later won the match with a 41:39 win against FC Barcelona.

The next highlight for the “Australians” should quickly follow after the initial defeat. Because in the second match they met the Saudi club HK Khaleej. “There were 5,000 spectators in the hall, and the game was also broadcast live on local television,” says Tapken. However, this fight was also lost (21:35), and he and his teammates managed a narrow 26:29 defeat against the host nation’s second representative, HK Muthar. In the final game for 12th place, the game had a happy ending. “We won 33:29 against Club Ministros from Mexico,” says Max Tapken. What remains is an “unforgettable two weeks where many friendships were formed.”

“I gravitated to Cairns, it’s very hot in the north.”Max Tapken

Shortly after their return, the next competition for the university team was already there: the Nations Cup of Australia with teams from the states of Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, Topken and his team started. “We had a lot of fun and were very happy to finish second.”

Tapken currently has no plans to make any appearances on the handball court. “I’ll be leaving Melbourne and Sydney soon – I’m drawn to Cairns, which is much warmer north.” He wants to buy a car there and eventually drive south through the East Coast. If he arrives in Sydney after 2000 kilometres, Max can go to Topgen University, where a volleyball adventure may yet await.