Beach volleyball has been on the program of the five-ring games since the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Hungarian doubles have not yet qualified, the most successful country in the sport is the United States with six priorities, and Brazil has so far collected the most medals (13 in number). Besides them, by the way, only Australia and Germany have won Olympic championships so far.
There was no Hungarian duo in Tokyo either, but there was a Hungarian player on the field: a competitor in Italian Tooth Orsi with Marta Menegati I played alongside him. I got up and headed to Siokazi Park, a 45-minute walk from the press center, where the beach volleyball competitions for the Tokyo Olympics are being held. Along the way, I admire the harbor from a bird’s eye view, the Ferris wheel, and a local mall in front of which visitors await a 15-foot-tall robot.
The park was temporarily converted into a competition venue, with a 12,000-seat arena created – the games were originally scheduled to be held in front of spectators, but the coronavirus pandemic has bypassed them all. At the entrance, after the usual security measures – hand disinfection, thermometry, accreditation control, bag check – I headed to the media centre, where many people were amazed at what I was looking for here as a Hungarian journalist. Understood, I said to myself.
Being a funky Hungarian sport – especially in the absence of a sandy beach – the attention of the local media cannot be expected. Orsi Toth, who also played his third game in the group, was surprised when he first requested the M4 Sport and then the Hungarian pointer in the mixed zone. The 30-year-old beach volleyball player said that he lived in Italy with his family for 25 years, but boldly agreed to speak Hungarian. Aside from the fact that not a single term comes to mind – which, of course, can also be attributed to fatigue and bitterness after losing a match – we can speak fluently.
I’ll be very honest, something went wrong now. For the past year and a half, I’ve been constantly hurting, practically breaking everything, going from one doctor to another. It was very difficult to play that way, to train, to continue everything at all. He was very tired physically and even mentally. It would have been a little better if I could have experienced the Olympic atmosphere better, I would have gone home sadly
Orsi Tóth was the first to start evaluating the Olympics on the index. The Italian, who competed in Italian colors, lost all three group matches, farewell to the matches.
Regarding Hungarian beach volleyball, there was only one news coverage of the Hungarian press when it produced a positive doping pattern before the 2016 Rio Olympics. He had to skip the Games, so he was suspended for two years, to no avail to prove his innocence. Both the ban and the coronavirus have left their mark on Tokyo’s preparations.
In Italy, the situation was very bad, but the players of the national team were allowed to train. Unfortunately, due to injuries, I was also able to train and compete quite a bit, and I also had a slight injury in Doha. I missed two years after Rio, this Olympic cycle didn’t come together mentally or physically. There’s still an Eb and a championship, and then we’ll see how to proceed.
Budapest-born Toth Orsi started with indoor volleyball (he was a dispatcher), between 2007 and 2009 withdrew two seasons in one of the strongest (but stronger) Italian leagues in Europe, then played in the second division. He completely switched to beach volleyball in 2011. Of course, we also asked about Hungary.
I know Hungarian runners on the beach, they are in many races, and I follow the World Tour Championships. One or two I had already searched for my destination, but could not go. It would be great to play in Hungary. I say I’m coming home even if I’ve been living in Italy for 25 years. The last time I was at home was probably a couple of years ago, it wasn’t easy because of coronavirus and training recently, but my parents, for example, haven’t been home for a long time.
The press attache of the Italian Olympic team was already watching the interview with sharp eyes, so we had to close it, but we still had time to get to the Hungarian Olympians with Orsi.
I’ve followed the swimmers, I also know Katinka Hoszow and Laszlo Cheh, and I know this was Laci’s last race. Not really the others, but so far I haven’t had time for that because of the matches, maybe now I’ll have time for more
Orsi Toth closed his thoughts.
(Cover photo: Orsi Tóth at the Tokyo Olympics. Photo: Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images Hungary)