Handball in Koprivnica was first played in 1954 by men. Closely after in October 1955 grammar-school girls started practising the game coached by their school teacher Vinko Zember. They founded the handball club, carrying the name of their school – RK Ivo Marinković.
The first match played in the history of the club, held in Koprivnica on 4. December, 1955, was a friendly match against RK Grafičar (Bjelovar) and celebrated the victory by winning 7:4. In spring of 1956 club started competing in Varaždin county league. In september 1956 club became a part of DTO Partizan and changed its name into RK Partizan.
More consistent and training at higher quality level began in 1960 when Professor Josip Samaržija started coaching the players, what proved in making progress in game as in better results from season to season. Due to inexperience and lack of sporting luck, players failed twice (1961 and 1962) to enter the first National League. But they succeeded in their third attmept on 27. June 1964 in Koprivnica and qualified for the First National Handball league, that was much appreciated and celebrated by their fans.
Playing at the highest competing level highly exceeded the funds, so the well known food industry factory Podravka from Koprivnica took sponsorship over the club and in September 1964 changed its name to RK Podravka, which has been carried since with pride. That was one of the most important moments in the history of the club.
In their first season played (1964/65) in the First National league Podravka ended on a high fifth position overall and it happened to be the next season (1965/66) when they won the National Championship! As national champions, players for the first time ended official international competitions. In the first round of Women’s European Club Championships they celebrated twice over the Dutch champions Swift from Roermond, whereas were knocked out in the second round by strong German team from Leipzig. Both home matches were played in Ljubljana-Tivoli because at the time there wasn’t an adequate sporting hall.
In the season 1966/67 Podravka celebrated once more and for the second time became National champion. In both seasons Podravka didn’t loose a match played on home ground, which was the reason fans called it Maracana. That year Podravka withdrew from the European Champions Cup for several reasons.
Several following seasons Podravka always held to the top of the First National league, being second or third. Three rounds prior to the end of the season 1970/71, Podravka split with the coach Professor Samaržija.
The next season Podravka dropped out from the First National league into second, to make a comeback after two years in 1974/75 and regain the status playing in the first league. In May 1975 a new sporting hall was opened and finally Podravka got normal working conditions. Unfortunately, the very season Podravka once again dropped out from the first league, which she qualified back for in 1979/80. Podravka played two seasons in the first league and dropped out again in 1981/82. The following ten years Podravka played in second league with very inconsistent results. They regained the status in first national league in 1989/90.
By the end of the 1990/91 season and with disintegrating if the former country, Croatian Handball Federation formed Croatian Handball league.
The first season 1991/92 in the Croatian Handball league Podravka ended third. Starting with the 1992/93 season Podravka has won eighteen times, including 2010/2011 season, the National Championship and seventeen times Croatian Cup.
Two seasons, 1991/92 and 1992/93, Podravka competed in CWC (Cup Winners Cup) and since 1993/94 has played in EHF Champions league and made it play twelve times in CL. In EHF CL in 1994/95 they reached the finals and in 1995/96 they made a step further, won Hypo No in finals, and became European Champions. The same season Podravka won the Super Cup played in September 1996 in Koprivnica, what made it to be considered as the best seasin in rich club history.
Furthermore, Podravka played in the CL quarter finals in season 1996/97, in the season 1997/98 in the CL semi finals and in the season 2008/09 in the CL Main Round.
Except the EHF Champion’s League, Podravka played in two more Euro Competition; Cup Winners Cup and EHF Cup.
In the season 2004/05 Podravka played the final CWC, in the season 2007/08 CWC semi final and in the season 2006/07 CWC quarter finals.
In the EHF Cup, Podravka played the finals twice, in the season 2000/01 and in the season 2005/06. In the season 2001/02 Podravka played in the quarter finals.
Podravka has received many awards and acknowledgements: national award for sport’s achievements “Franjo Bučar”, Croatian Olympic Committee acknowledgement for the best Croatian women’s team in 1996, in newspaper Sportske novosti three time won the title Team of the year, Koprivnica town award and many other.
From the very beginnings RK Podravka works up to the most with all age groups of girls and has achieved a lot in the national championships, several times reaching the title.
Podravka did form a most successful women’s team, recruiting some of the top women players in the country, especially in the 90-s. Among them were handful of National Team members competing in European and World’s Championships and Mediterranean games.
Today the club’s first team competes in First National handball league, the second team in second league, the third team in third league, while the fourth team competes in Intercounty league. In the club there is a handball school where girls at very early stage can learn the first handball steps.
More than hundred and fifty girls play and compete in RK Podravka, what guarantees the handball game in Koprivnica to be played for many years ahead.
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