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bhc-zagreb.com journalists have spoken with Gabor Bathori,  Hungarian beach handball national selection player, one of the best world specialists and, recently, beach handball journalists. At the beginning, please introduce yourself. How old are you, how long have you been playing handball, in which club (league) are you playing now? What is your occupation?

Hello to everyone, thanks the opportunity. I’m Gabor Bathori, I was born in 1980 in a Hungarian handball-loving town, called Tatabánya. I first met indoor handball in elementary school, in about 1991. Later, I played at several Hungarian clubs, usually in second-class. Recently, for 3 years I’m playing in France in an ambitious club which is third-class but we’d like to go up to second league. My current job is a handball player, and I’m really lucky that I can do what I like. Anyway, I’m working on a field of information technology.

Which beach handball competition have you participated in? Which one was your greatest success and which one was your biggest defeat?
By this time, I have more than 10 years beach handball past , so I’m very proud of that I participated in numerous leading tournaments. Although, they didn’t count on me long time in the National Selection, my greatest success and and greatest defeat at the same time was the European Championship in 2006, where we got silver medal. In the semifinals we won against the German team, in the finals we have lost the shootout against the strong Spanish team. Of course I like to think back our two wins of EBT Finals in 2006 and 2008, too.

Can you tell us something  about Hungarian beach handball at this moment? How many tournament do you have in Hungary in total and which is the best, by your opinion?

In Hungary there are 3 kind of tournaments. First, there are EBTs, I think many people have known already, like the high quality Balaton Open in Keszthely or the EBT in Salgótarján. In these tournaments the participants usually that Hungarian teams who were registered in EBT system, among a lot of foreign teams of course. The second is organized by the Hungarian Federation, which has eight venues during the whole summer, and has ended a Hungarian Final.

The third one is mainly for fun and preparation.

Regarding the beach handball club you are part of. At this moment you are playing for the Budaors Beach stars. Tell us little bit about your club, its history, success and future competitions, sponsors etc...   
People should know about the Budaors Beach Stars, that its name has changed many times in the past few years as Winterthur, Credit Suiss, Axa Beach Stars, however the team has existed for 10 years.

Its management and its players are still the same, the reason of the changes of the names was the situation of its current sponsorship. Our team has always been a decisive participant in both of the Hungarian and international competitions. It would be difficult to enumerate how many titles and cups we have won in the past 10 years. We are the winner of the Hungarian Champion and Cup several times, we also winning twice in the EBT Masters Finals and most of the times our team had the chances to go to the finals. In addition, not only many of players but also the leaders have received invitations from the national team.

Now there is a rejuvenation process going on, on the team. There are many young talents who want to show off  what their know. We, old players are trying to help them and teach them to became the best team in Europe again.

At the moment the sponsorship seems to be solved. Budaörs city itself cares about our team and hopefully it will remain for a long time.

In past few years, Hungarian teams became the constant on European scene- Salgotarjani, Budaors, Keszthely, Dabasi... Which youth teams do you see as potential winners in the future?

The Budaörs Team is in the front since years. Thanks to the stamina and knowledge of the Salgótarján Team, in the EBT these guys are scoring more points preceding our team. (Hopefully it won't take forever.) However, in the past few years the Keszthely Team also is going to winning ways, because of the good teamwork and the attention of its coach. If they stay together, they have the chance for winning at any kind of tournaments in the future.

Also tell us your opinion about Hungarian selection? Hungary has a lot of success, especially in the youth categories and female selection became European champions. What are the expectations in the male category?

The Hungarian Selection in male category wasn’t able to maintain that level last year, what everybody has expected. After a World Game silver medal in 2009, they cannot qualify themselves to 2013 World Game nor the World Championship in this year. So we have to rethink and revalue everything about the Selection. It depends on time, how can we do this better, but I really trust in it.

As for the female category, the year was more fruitful, because after a 100% European Championship, they won silver in World Game. Thanks to that more players are in the same club, they spares neither trouble nor pains or money, with lots of preparations. It means 50 days of unity and has lot of team spirit in the summer.
We can tell the same of female youth category, there is overlapping between the two teams in players and coach, and they train at the same time, and same place. So it isn’t a big surprise that they won European Championship. J
Male youth is on their way as well I hope they can participate well in male selection, too.

Can you tell us something about other selections? Which one (in both categories) do you prefer and why?
I think the most enjoyable way of playing is the Brazilian’s. Both among woman and man the dynamic and acrobatic elements are enviable. But I really love such teams like Croatian, who can do it well-organized and tactical. As a matter of fact I prefer that women teams where lots of pretty members are. J

Recently, you started with the new project in spreading the beach handball word. It is about the site strandkezi.hu , which is exclusively beach handball oriented site. This project is very good for spreading  the beach handball word among people.  Can you please, tell us more about this project.(how did you start it, how many people is working on it...) Are you satisfied with the visitor number? Are there other media in Hungary which promote beach handball?

Strandkezi. hu (which means beach handball) was my cherished dream long ago. I devote all energies to it. It’s really a hobby for me, I do it for my pleasure. I think it’s filling a gap in Hungary and anywhere else, soon I’d like to introduce the English version as well. Actually 3 people are working on the page, two of us write and translate articles and one who is working in IT fields. But during a year, when we need recent articles, in this case every organizer, player or referee can help us. Unfortunately there are not many forums engaged in beach handball in Hungary. Except only one or two main results…it’s a 15 minutes fame. Everybody likes success. J

At the end, please just write where do you see beach handball in the near future. What should be improved?

In my opinion, beach handball is in a transitional and hopefully temporary status. It hasn’t decided if it wants to be professional or only another free time sport on the beach, and maybe people play for that reason because the beer is better after. I think these years are about seeking. It can be successful if it’s developing. There are possibilities, e.g: Champion’s Cup in 2014. It is organized on a beautiful place but in November. For such players like me, who works with handball in a professional way, hardly imaginable to let to this tournament. Even there will no handball match at that weekend, the danger of injuries narrows the players on it. Or for example, we will win the Hungarian Championship with the club team, but there are lots of players who play indoor so in November we need a totally different team.
By the way, beach handball is on a good way to be professional. I wish it would be successful.

 Thank you for your time and hope that we will see you soon.

I really would like to thank the opportunity again, I hope it wasn’t boring with my long answers. J I wish prosperous season to everyone who plays indoor yet. See you soon in the summer. You can get this for a threat! J


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