The nine member organisations of the Hungarian Synchronised Swimming Association have expressed their doubts regarding the current president, Sándor Balogh. However, before he was forced to resign officially, he revoked his position via text message.
An emergency meeting was put on the schedule for February 9, where the member organisations were supposed to discuss Balogh’s presidency’s recall. 24.hu reports that Balogh signalled via a WhatsApp text message that he is resigning effective March 17, later changing this to February 9.
The following is an interview conducted by 24.hu with the ex-president on the subject of his departure and his grim view on Hungarian synchronised swimming.
Do you have any hard feelings about your forced resignation after only nine months?
I do, but at the same time, I do not. In situations where others deem me unfit for the position or think that I have fulfilled my role and I am not needed anymore, I will not fight any longer. If two carts are head to head and one of them accelerates without the intention of slowing down, dialogue between them becomes impossible, as distance grows.
What do you predict for the future?
The State Secretariat provides 9 million forints (EUR 28 thousand) for sports in 2019, so let us work out the numbers:
the World Championship takes place in South Korea, and the travelling cost is 1.5 times this sum.
Where do you think you went wrong?
My budget estimation for 2019 was 250 million forints, this would have covered a symbolic salary for every sportsman and sportswoman so that they could stay in the lane even if they are of a young age. Clubs would have gotten aid as well. We barely get any money from the Gerevich fund, changing things is of great importance.
Balogh mentioned that he dreamt too big in hoping that progress will draw financial aid, but sponsors and the government do not seem to agree with this view.
Results need not only competitions but competitors too, in which Hungary is lacking. Is this why there were talks of signing a Russian swimmer?
Yes, I believed that progress must be sped up, that is why I turned to Russian clubs, who are not only excellent sportsmen but are also great at sports diplomacy.
We got a glimpse into how Russians train and decided that their training could score us some points in Tokyo. We even had three candidates, but none of them was signed: the first was a pair of twins, but
the Hungarian professionals and the presidents of member organisations did not like the idea of foreigners representing Hungary – this could have discouraged Hungarians.
The second was a girl named Matviyenko, but we could not tell her how much her salary would be within a week, so she stepped down. We did not know why the third candidate refused.
Talks on financial issues and cooperation with the Russians are slow and are not getting anywhere. In conclusion, we will not be ready to get an Olympic qualification, so we will not be there in Tokyo in 2020.
Most of the adult sportswomen and men are not competing anymore, but luckily we have lots of promising young swimmers, but they need years of routine on international grounds until the jury gets to know them well. This takes about four to six years, and since the Russians are already through with this, we could have spared a lot of time by signing them.
Is there not another way?
This sports branch lives off of money too, without a set of mind that focuses that business, it will not get anywhere. We have to face that Katinka Hosszú is an excellent swimmer, but she approaches swimming as a businesswoman. I suggest she sets up a synchronised swimming section and sign a Russian swimmer as soon as possible because it is a good and profiting idea. She has a little over two months for this and with minimal effort, she could be the head of Hungarian synchronised swimming.
featured image: facebook.com/fina1908/