Young core set to drive Hungary to new heights
Hungary is an interesting prospect at the IKF World Korfball Championship 2019, and should challenge most other teams, even though they are in a tough pool. A young core of the squad has come through the age groups together. Several players who have since graduated to the senior team placed sixth at the IKF U21 World Korfball Championship 2018, following an excellent performance three years earlier when they played for a medal at the U19 Korfball World Cup 2015.
Their challenge is to confirm that potential and go at least one place better than Hungary’s current ninth placing in the IKF rankings. That would give them a top eight finish and therefore ensure qualification for the World Games 2021, an honour that Hungary has never previously achieved.
Alexandra Falcsik, known to her team mates and other friends as Lexi, says their main goal is to make everyone at home proud.
“Hungarian korfball has made strong progress in recent years. This is our chance to step up another level and show what we are capable of. We are young and enthusiastic. While we know how to have fun together, the team comes first for all of us.
“Even though we qualified by finishing in eighth place at the IKF European Korfball Championship last year, because more than half of Hungary’s national squad players are students, funding ourselves to go to South Africa was a genuine challenge and many of us struggled to make that financial commitment,” she says.
When the IKF WKC was previously held outside Europe, in 2011, budgetary constraints prevented Hungary’s participation. This time around, the team was determined to overcome that barrier.
“Like several other teams that fund themselves to play international korfball, we had to make a big effort to be on the plane. Fortunately members of the team and the Hungarian Korfball Federation were able to gather enough generous support, both nationally and internationally, to confirm our entry. Putting in that hard work with the budget, and knowing that we have good support behind us, has given us even greater determination to do well at the tournament,” she says.
Training with the squad is another challenge for Lexi, who has been a student of journalism at the University of Kent in England since 2017, where she plays for local club Tornadoes, and was part of the team that recently finished third in England’s national league. She returned to Budapest at Easter and for the summer to train with the Hungarian team.
“We trained with the beach korfball team to improve our fitness. Although playing korfball for two hours in the sand is absolutely exhausting, we hope it made us stronger. Preparing with the U21s is also a good challenge, and gives us the opportunity to play against a wider range of people,” she says.
Hungary has taken advantage of korfball’s capacity for international friendship and cross-border co-operation, running two joint training camps with the Czech Republic in the lead up to Durban.
Balázs Berenyi is one Hungarian player who opponents will need to take note of in Durban. At the IKF EKC 2018 he was top scorer for the tournament, with 30 goals. In keeping with the sport’s strong family theme, Hungary’s squad also includes another Berenyi brother, Tamás, as well as three Bellusz brothers: Kristóf, Attila and Viktor. A fourth member of the Bellusz family is also coming through the ranks, sister Tamara, who was part of Hungary’s squad at the recent U19 World Korfball Cup and is the youngest member of the squad travelling to Durban.
Lexi says Hungary is looking forward to the pool games, where they will meet Suriname, Macau and China.
“We played China twice last year at the IKF U21 WKC. After winning the pool game, we lost our play off against them by golden goal, so that is a good rivalry and one that we aim to keep going in Durban,” she says.
#TeamHUN IKF WKC 2019
3: Zsófia Gáspár
4: Rozália Berki
7: Tamara Csilla Bellusz
10: Viktor Zsolt Bellusz
11: Zsolt Ferenc Majer
13: Fanni Júlia Pauly
14: Attila István Bellusz
15: Tamás Áron Berényi
17: Alexandra Falcsik
23: Sára Zsuzsanna Tasnádi
24: Enikő Beöthy
33: Kristóf Tamás Bellusz
34: György Dőrfi
35: Balázs Berényi
Coach: Barnabás Hack
Manager: Attila Erdei
Official: Jan Jouke Flokstra