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16th FINA World Championships

July 24 - August 9, 2015
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Hungarian water polo team: One should never come to the competitions without a goal to win

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04.08.2015, 10:00 Sport
The current world water polo champions, the Hungarian national team, show good results in Kazan. Today they have a match with Italy in the quarterfinal. On the day before the game Balazs Erdelyi and Miklos Gor-Nagy talked about their opponents, amazing water polo culture in their country and reflected on their careers in elite sport.

– Tell us about the victory at the World Championships in Barcelona. What did you feel when you realised that the gold medal is already yours?

M. – Strangely enough, we didn’t feel any kind of catharsis or euphoria. When we had a few matches before the end I saw strength of the team and was confident that we would win. We were happy to be so successful. This confirmed our expectations and still gives us great energy, emotional advantage for a team. We are looking forward to the match with Italy to show our playing and competing skills. 

– You faced Argentina, Kazakhstan and South Africa. Who was the most inconvenient competitor?

B. – Generally, it was Kazakhstan. Last year we had a serious fight – there was a particularly intense struggle at the beginning of the match, so this time the team took care of the first half of the match to show its superiority. Though this match was the most severe, it provided us with a victory with a big score.

– Do you visit the matches of other teams to assess the level of athletes?

M. – We do not visit the matches because we have no time. The World Championships are a serious event, many factors must be taken into account. We do not want to clutter our mind with thoughts about anyone except us. Of course, our coaching staffs does a great job. We always get all useful information about our competitors because all matches are on video and the team is provided with special prepared materials. We see strong and weak points of our competitors.

– Your team performs at the 16th FINA World Championships without defeats and with a good lead on points. What is a cost for such results?

B. – The answer is that we are in an easy group. Those three countries with which we played – they did not come here to win like Hungary did, they have other purposes. More than that, the water polo culture there is not yet well developed – that is why we have this lead.

– Who is then your main competitor in Kazan?

M. – Our next opponent is Italy. We pay all our attention to Italy, to quarterfinals. Everyone knows that there are 5-6 teams that are on the same level, but we are focused on the next game.

– How do people in Hungary appreciate water polo, do you have audience support?

M. – Water polo in Hungary is regarded as a national sport. Thankfully, the team is in such a position that in any city it has capacity crowd. Even abroad you can notice a lot of Hungarian flags. Support of the Hungarian audience can always be felt in virtually any corner of the world.

– What are your impressions of the sports facilities in Kazan?

M. – They are fantastic, we're impressed. We are delighted with the Water Polo Arena. We like the fact that it has been built specifically for the competitions. It's great that the stands are placed around the pool – one may watch the match from any side. At the most important matches when there are many spectators the atmosphere will be incredible. It is evident that organisation of the World Championships involved a lot of energy.

 – How did each of you come to Water Polo?

B. – I started with handball at elementary school. After the victory of the Hungarian national team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, my parents, especially my mother, decided that it would be better for me go to the pool. Handball in Eger is quiet poor and there is a strong water polo team – they took me to the pool – this is the way everything turned out.

M. – My story is much easier. I was a player in water polo team when I was nine years old. Dad once took me to the pool. I tried other sports, but it did not work, and water polo soon became my passion and the main goal.

 – Please, give some tips for young athletes who want to repeat your success. What should they do?

M. – I got a lot from this sport and I recommend young people to join water polo. I, personally, as a father, want my son to follow in my footsteps, but, of course, it will be his decision. My main recommendation – one needs to engage in sports activities – it is a matter of health. We have a great team, and I mean not only our team, but it is about the entire water polo community. Even if the player does not become a world champion, he will have tremendous opportunities and prospects, as he will be able to travel around the world, make friends, go abroad, learn things thanks to sport. Since this is a national sport in Hungary, the players are always respected. Even if someone is doing this at the youth sport level, this provides you with self-confidence for the rest of your life. We have a lot of friends who were engaged in this sport only in their youth but they still call themselves water polo players.

 – What are the qualities of a successful water polo player?

B. – First, it requires talent, certain physical parameters, a good ball sense. Strong work, persistence, endurance are important. And audacity in a positive way.

 - Reveal the secrets of your training, how do you usually train to compete?

M. – Land and water trainings are equally important and interconnected. Each week we have 8-9 training sessions. When the team has common practices at the end of the season, then almost any workout is preceded by exercises, 2-3 times a week we go to the gym, and then to the pool itself.

 – What kind of mood did you have upon your arrival to the Championships; do you have already a bid for a medal?

B. – Of course, the main goal, and it should always be the goal, is a victory. One should never come to the competitions without a goal to win! Now, as Miklos has already said, we think step-by-step, the most important thing at the moment is our next match with Italy. If we manage to go further, then we will think about our next step. There is responsibility and at the same time some energy based on the feeling that we are the current world champions, but we do not look ahead.

Press Office of Organising Committee for 16th FINA World Championships