Waterpolo has been among the most successful sports in Hungary with numerous excellent national and international achievements. The uprise of the sport started in the 1920s under the direction of Béla Komjádi, the most innovative waterpolo coach of his lifetime, whose novel training techniques and outstanding commitment led the Hungarian sport into the leading bunch of the world. By today, in addition to 9 Olympic gold medals, the men’s national waterpolo team of Hungary can take pride in a first place at 3 World and 13 European championships, our women’s national team is a two-times world and a three-times European champion. One of the most significant waterpolo achievements of Hungary was at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, where our men’s team won its 9th Olympic gold medal after being unbeaten during the whole sport event.
Hungarian András Rédli fences against Anatoliy Herey of Ukraine, 2013 Wold Fencing Championships final
The history of fencing in Hungary roots back to 1825, when the National Fencing Institution of the country was established in Budapest. Hungary organised its first national fencing competition in 1895, and since 1908 we have participated in almost every Summer Olympic Games, European and World Championships. By today, with 37 Olympic gold, 23 silver and 27 bronze medals and with numerous other international results - such as 93 gold medals at World Championships - fencing is one of the most successful sports of the nation. The most famous Hungarian fencing champion was Aladár Gerevich (1910-1991) with 7 Olympic and 14 world gold medals. Today, Tímea Nagy and Áron Szilágyi are among the most outstanding Hungarian fencers, both with 2 Olympic gold medals.
As Hungary is extremely rich in rivers and lakes, swimming has always been among the most popular sports of the country. The first swimming competition was held on the River Danube between Vác and Margaret Island (Margitsziget) in 1881, then in 1893 the Hungarian Swimming Society (Magyar Úszó Egylet) was established followed by numerous other swimming clubs as well. The first Olympic champion in swimming – and also the first Olympic winner in the history of Hungary – was Alfréd Hajós, who received two gold medals at the Summer Olympic Games held in Athens in 1896. By today, Hungarians are among the most successful swimmers in the world with 28 gold and 25 silver medals at Summer Olympic Games, and several leading positions at World and European Championships. Krisztina Egerszegi, László Cseh and Katinka Hosszú are just some of the most famous Hungarian ones, the latter is the first swimmer in the world who held world records in all five individual medley swimming at the same time.
Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszú, Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games
Handball became widespread in Hungary in the 1930s thanks to a Hungarian athlete Sándor Csérfay, who met and loved the sport on one of his European tour and then introduced it in the Hungarian sports life. Throughout the years, handball became one of the most popular sports of the country both at club and at national level. Many handball clubs achieved outstanding places at international tournaments, such as the Győri Audi ETO KC women’s team which is a five-time winner or the Telekom Veszprém men’s team which is a four-time finalist at the EHF (European Handball Federation) Champions League. The national handball teams got out to the World and European Championships as well as the Summer Olympic Games several times, at the latter the women won bronze medal in 1996 and a silver in 2000. In 2022, Hungary and Slovakia will co-host together the European Men’s Handball Championship, where in Hungary the city of Budapest, Szeged and Debrecen will give home to the tournaments.
Hungary’s sport successes derive from its high-level sport education and excellent sport infrastructure as well. Most universities in Hungary offer extracurricular PE services at modern sport centres, well-equipped gyms and various sport courts available for all students who wish to keep fit during their university years. Students can try many sports, such as aerobics, gymnastics, football and different martial arts, and can take part in many competitions organised by the institutions. There are also universities that provide sport related education for their international students, including the University of Physical Education, the University of Pécs and the University of Nyíregyháza, where you can learn about the science of physical education and coaching or even sport biology. If you want to know more about the available international programmes in the field of sport, check out our Study Finder.
Links and sources: Magyar Szablyavívó Iskola Szolnok – A vívás története Magyarországon; Bíró Melinda (2011) – Uszodai sportok; Sportszertár - Az úszás Sportágtörténete; Cultura – A kulturális magazin – Komjádi Béla; Kézilabda – a sportág magyarországi története; Magyar Olimpiai Bizottság; Magyar Úszó Szövetség; Magyar Vívó Szövetség, Photo by Marie-Lan Nguyen on Wikimedia; Photo by Fernando Frazão/Angencia Brasil on Wikimedia; freepik.com