The Hungarian Wrestling Federation (MBSZ) is celebrating, on the one hand, the centenary of its founding, and on the other hand, the establishment of the István Kozma Hungarian Wrestling Academy (KIMBA). On this occasion, the MBSZ 100 Gala and the opening of KIMBA took place on Friday evening. On Saturday, a national memorial competition named after the national team competitor, Bendegúz Tóth, who died a year ago, takes place. According to Szilárd Németh, the president of the federation, the crown can be placed on top at the Tokyo Olympics for the festive year.
Hungarian wrestling ranks fourth in the Hungarian Olympic all-time ranking among sports with 19 gold, 16 silver and 19 bronze medals. The independent sports federation was established in March 1921, before which Richárd Weisz became an Olympic champion in 1908. All the other brilliant results have been born since then. Szilárd Németh, president of the MBSZ, has already pointed out to our interest: “In a century, 130 wrestlers left the Hungarian nation a total of 433 medals at world competitions. Among our legends, Imre Polyák and János Varga won the ‘Athlete of the Nation’ title, too. Our only two-time Olympic champion so far, István Kozma, has been the eponym of the academy, which, as a pledge of our future, can continue to secure our place in the international elite.”
The foundation that operates KIMBA was established in 2018, and by the beginning of December, the hall was structurally complete. The topping out took place, the imposing building was completed by 2020, and the coronavirus pandemic could only partially prevent populating the facility. “We created the framework, the modern infrastructure with hard work and the personal support of the Hungarian government and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. We strongly hope that all our excellent professionals will fill it with life and results because we must remain worthy of our bright past and present. Due to the pandemic, the work couldn’t start at a lick, but in the fall, for example, we were able to hold the national championship here, and we even introduced our academy in Csepel to the press and the general public. However, the inauguration ceremony could only take place now, in our jubilee year, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the MBSZ and the 101st anniversary of the Treaty of Trianon,” said the sporting director.
The program of the MBSZ 100 Gala was enriched by performances of the world-famous Kossuth Prize-winning opera singer Erika Miklósa and the National Dance Theater. The great individuals and professionals of the sport have become richer with various centenary awards, which bear the names of former legendary competitors and sports leaders such as István Kozma, Imre Polyák, György Gurics, Alfréd Brüll, and Károly Rendek.
|The tomb of Tóth Bendegúz, who died a year ago, was inaugurated (Photo: Hédi Tumbász)|
According to Szilárd Németh, the memory of the young national team competitor, Bendegúz Tóth, who tragically passed away last year, is preserved in an exemplary manner by the Hungarian wrestling family. “We made a new tomb for Bende, which we inaugurated on the morning of the Day of National Unity. Not only on the mat, but with his short life and early death, he became a role model for all young people along with Hungarian wrestlers. He showed that being born with talent isn’t everything – to unfold it, it takes discipline, respect, perseverance, and tremendous work. He lived an exemplary life: he was born into a loving family, and in addition to his hard training, he was expected to have an excellent university degree and was planning a family with his bride. He was the most promising freestyle wrestler of his age. His name is the eponym of the sports scholarship established by the MBSZ, KIMBA, and the University of Physical Education (TE) for TE students who are also exemplary in wrestling beyond their studies. In addition, on Saturday, we will hold the nationwide junior memorial competition, which we also named after him, where, beside the two national teams, teams from Székely Land, Upper Hungary, Vojvodina and Transcarpathia will also come. The organization of the last event also indicates that the MBSZ is at the heart of reunifying Hungarian wrestling. The program ‘On one mat, in one language, together for Hungarian wrestling!’ was launched to bring the athletes of the Carpathian basin together under a unified flag. Part of this, for example, is the establishment of an academy in Kanjiža, Délviék, which will be inaugurated on July 22, the Day of Remembrance of the Siege of Belgrade.”
The ceremony also includes the production of a four-part documentary series and the historical book titled 100 Years in the Federation – The Wonderful World of Hungarian Wrestling. Of course, the crown can be put on top at the Olympics for the jubilee year. Szilárd Németh also spoke about this: “There will be six Hungarian wrestlers in Tokyo, who all worked hard for this opportunity. We helped and will help them in their preparation. It’s not my job to set specific professional goals, but, certainly, a comfortable chair in the champions’ lodge at KIMBA is very much awaiting for the future holder of our 20th Olympic gold…”