NEWS FROM HUNGARY
The Hungarian team are always very successful in the World Transplant Games, since 1999 in the final ranking we are always among the best 5 countries in the nations’ medal competition in the summer games, and we are in the first third in the Winter Games in spite of the population of Hungary is less than 10 million. We are very proud of this result. What’s in the background? What is the secret of our team?
The Hungarian Transplant Federation (HTF) established a contest system at the end of 90s. It is very similar to any other national sports federation’s operation. The HTF has got 24 member associations or clubs. These associations cover the whole country almost each county or regions has an association which gather the transplant and dialysed patients. We organise competitions in all the sports which are in the programme of the European and World Transplant Games, except golf and lawn ball, because these sports are not very popular in Hungary and there aren’t many facilities to practice.
The HTF General Assembly compile and approve the yearly sport timetable. Each sports has the nationwide competition twice a year before the European, - or World Games, normally between February and May or beginning June. It always depends on the closing time of the registration for the coming Games. These competitions normally on weekends in view of the skills of that one particular host club,e.g. swimming and table –tennis contest on Saturday and athletics on Sunday. Than on another weekend badminton, bowling on Saturday and darts, petanque on Sunday and so on. In this way we have transplant and dialysed competitions almost every second or third week till end of May: We call these events “qualification competitions” because our transplant and dialysed athletes can achieve the membership of the official transplant team during these events.
Our competition- and selection system is qualified. Our competitors may choose two individual sports and one team sport which is only can be volleyball. We set up a qualification lists-that modify after each competition- in the case of sports which cannot be measured objectively, such as table tennis, badminton or tennis. Sports where achievement can be measured by seconds or other objective means such as swimming, track and field, bowling, cycling, darts, we have A and B levels. Sportsmen belong to a level if their achievement corresponds to the third place of the previous World Games; B level qualification is equal to the six places. Sportsmen and sportswomen can member of the official transplant team if they reached a level. B level qualified sportsmen constitute the reserve team. The national team members ‘list is set up by the clubs’ trainers according to the places available, expenses and weather the contestant s achieved or not the above levels. The Council of the Federation finalizes the list. The official team members’ registration fee is paid by the Hungarian Transplant Federation.
Of course, all those athletes who participated in the national competitions during the year and reached B level or proved that they are physically fit for the competition may register for the European and World Games on their own costs.
In summertime the Federation organises a week-long training camps prior to the World and European Games. Normally there are 2 or 3 training sessions for each athlete per day. Coaches prepare individual training programs for them.
Our sportsmen and sportswomen participate in the regular sports system of the healthy in many sports, as in swimming and track and field in master’s competition, or volleyball team competition, table- tennis, badminton and tennis of Budapest.
We set up the Hungarian Transplant Championship of all sports; each branch of sport has its own contest. These championships are always held in autumn from beginning of September till end of November.
As we have continuous contest during the year we didn’t organise Games till last year. As the World Games in Goteborg was held in early summer, and there was an unusual period - almost 2 months- without any sport event in our timetable, an idea raised up to organise a week, not for competitive but for leisure sports. That was the “1st Hungarian Summer Games” in Zánka, near Lake Balaton in August. We used this event as an opportunity for the transplant and dialysed patients to know and try out different sports, and to begin to do regular exercises. The first time was a great success and hopefully it will be continued.
Operation of the national contest system, taking part in the World and European Games in the above mentioned way, organising training camps were all possible with the support of one of the Public Bodies of the Hungarian Government which was called FONESZ, i.e. Hungarian Sports Organisation for People with Special Needs.
There were plenty of changes in the sports administration in Hungary, at the end of 2011 and this year, and it was needed to adapt the new law and the new structure. The former umbrella organisation FONESZ, i.e. Hungarian Sport Organisation for People with Special Needs was ceased and now all the sports organisations –as well as ours- are working in the framework of the Hungarian Olympic Committee (HOC). Different departments were formed out in HOC, like Non-Olympic Sports-, Leisure Sports-, Students’ Sports- and Disabled and Special Sports Organisations’ Department. From the beginning of this year the Hungarian Transplant Federation is working together with the Hungarian Paralympics Committee, the Hungarian Special Olympics, and the Disabled Pupils’ Sports Federation in the Department of the Disabled and Special Sports Organisations of the Hungarian Olympic Committee.
The structure has been set up, but the real work start now. How can we further on in the framework of the new HOC Department? This year it is needed to work out all the details - the system of operation, the system of the sponsorship etc. - under the pressure of the economic crisis.
In May will be held the second rounds of the competitions and till end of the month will have been decided by coaches and the HTF Council about the official team members of the European Transplant and Dialysis Games in Zagreb. But the fight for financial support still keeps; we just hope but can’t see the good end yet.
Nowadays the Hungarian Team is one of the best worldwide, and working in the new structure, we hope we will be able to keep our good position in the future, too.
Hungarian Transplant Federation