Pallas Forges, the government commissioner responsible for international sporting events, and Sandor Vladar, president of the Hungarian Swimming Federation, believe that the European Championships in Budapest can only be held with real cooperation – and the organizers will get the gold medal.
|Balázs Fürjes (Photo: Budapest Development Center)|
Organizing a global competition is always a big task, especially in times of pandemic.
Balázs Fürjes: It was a brave commitment but we stood.” The uncertainty has been immense since March of last year, and once again, we had to do something no one had done before: a global wet race in a four thousand bubble – during a pandemic. We are on the third wave of the pandemic and we are starting to restart, and much of the world is still battling the virus. But we love challenges, and that’s when Hungarian virtue and creativity really come in handy. The situation at Water World Races is particularly familiar: we all remember being involved in running the 2017 World Cup. This time, the largest bubble in the world was “inflated” in the Hungarian capital, with four thousand participants moving to it, and only four out of eighteen thousand PCR tests were performed. So, “it was fun, it was a masculine act” – with the participation of Active ladies, smart and brave.
“If there was no trampled road, how did you know where to go?”
Sandor Wladár: Life is always the same, only on different levels: there are difficulties that need to be adapted, and which need to be resolved. We got used to it, and there was teamwork in the background that allowed us to stand up to the extraordinary challenge. With regard to the team led by activist David Szanto and sporting director Eniko Turok, I would like to emphasize that there are improvised people in it who are able to tackle the problem immediately. In addition, this team has gotten used to over the years, and its members also understand each other in half-words. Of course, we had partners, such as Semmelweis University, the company responsible for security, but we also know that the Hungarian man is like this: he invents himself in every situation. In addition, we had no choice but to do an excellent test, as the eyes of the world were on us. You can’t go wrong here. If we had made a mistake, it could have jeopardized other Hungarian sporting events.
FB: – That’s right. In addition to Tokyo, the world of sports is watching us, we are one of the beginnings of global sports. We opened the streak with the European Water Championships, the Juggling World Championships will start next week and then the European Football Championships with full matches come along. It was crucial that the first major event in a row passed flawlessly. Joining Mr. President: We Hungarians truly feel in our element when we have to face unexpected and unprecedented challenges, which bring out the best in us.
– Was there a statement among the co-chairs of the organizing committee that they could not do this?
FB: – Never. None of us were carved from this wood. No matter how big the challenge, we were always looking for a solution.
WS: The commissioner has a major role in reaching a government decision as soon as circumstances permit. We had to wait for that, which caused some uncertainty, but we had to decide on it in the middle of the pandemic, and we were already preparing in the background, and when the start signal was triggered, we moved to higher speeds.
FB:– We have always felt that the sport-loving Hungarian public supports the European Championship, and that the Hungarians want to be good hosts. Politics also showed its best side. In my work I have a lot of disagreements with the capital’s administration, but we pulled the bandwagon together regarding the European Swimming Championships, and as host Budapest has also added its part – as well as the government and the Hungarian Swimming Federation. There was a team that shouldn’t be surprised, swimming is really unique. Statistics and facts clearly show that the five most popular and most watched sports in the world are football, basketball, tennis, swimming and athletics. But of those, we swim there only at the forefront of the world. Therefore, swimming occupies a special place in the hearts of Hungarians.
FB:– I tried many sports in my childhood, and it still rings in my ears today as Uncle Pesta of Czech Pesta yelled to me in the pool, “Quail, don’t swim like a retired water polo player!” – I’m sorry about our cool shirts. By the way, I watched the Olympics for the first time when I was a young eight-year-old, and she was from Moscow: our first Olympic champion, I remember his name, was Sindoor Vladar. The structure of the Danube stadium during the period of world records and joint work with swimmers and water polo players deepened this friendship.
|Sándor Wladár (Photo: Imre Földi)|
– If the Moscow Olympics really were: is this organization and rightness, the success of the organization worthy of a gold medal in pride, ecstasy and contentment?
WS:– No. But not because it was good to rest after the European Championship, it was good to stop for a moment, but our race calendar is full, there is no time for that. We’re slowly getting used to it, although at this time we have to celebrate – plus the athletes and so are we. But the swimmers did not have a chance either, because they all keep going, and the Olympics are approaching.
– Is that why the organizers got the gold medal?
and b:– Certainly, especially to President Vladar and his team – he may have shared it with the National Sports Agency, which is successfully run by Attila Mihawk. As a fan of the sport, I say that it is very good to see that the Hungarian Swimming Federation has been in operation for four years: the work is being done in silence, and the results are enormous.
WS:“Thank you for the kind words, I can’t argue with them.” However, we contracted it out, so there was no doubt in the European Championships: it had to be done! I believe in business – we either do something well, or we don’t get started! We can also be proud that Hungarian Swimming has built a kind of bridge between the two beaches, and there was really real political cooperation here, and that is the real power of the sport – because the sport is connected.
FB:Our mother tongue is beautiful, but it also shuts us off from the world, and only us understand it. Therefore, the great Hungarian achievements can reach the world in the language of sports, culture, art and science. Hats off to all of our scientists and all of our artists, but there is no doubt that only sport can move an entire nation – the inspiring and unifying power of sport is unparalleled. In sports, we can really show the world who we are.
– How do we go on like this?
FB:– We have other common and big plans, with great teachers in them: one is the 2024 World Short Track Championship, which has never been seen before in Hungary, and the other is another ten years after the 2017 World Cup In the meantime, every year we organize winners battles and build certifications. There will be a lot of work.
WS:– We organize global competitions and also build great facilities, but they must be filled with galactic content! I asked for the help of the government commissioner to give those who go to the pool, and those who take part in swimming lessons, the opportunity – to care for them, and for us.
FB:The Hungarian Swimming Association has put on the table a well-thought-out and highly developed programme, the Swimming Nation programme, which requires budgetary resources, that is, cooperation is also required in this field. We have complete plans for the development of swimming and water polo, and we have common goals. We play as a team and understand each other – if combined with humility, we are doomed to success.