13 Oct 2016

Let me ask you this question: why would a Finnish Table Tennis player consider a European Championships hosted in Budapest (Hungary) to be a home tournament for them?

Believe it or not that is exactly the case with Benedek Oláh who was born and raised in Finland, but to Hungarian parents leaving the 25-year-old in a rather peculiar situation heading into the Liebherr 2016 European Championships.

by Simon Daish

Finnish With Hungarian Roots

Born in Kalajoki, Finland in 1991 Benedek Oláh has represented his home country on the ITTF World Tour, at World Championships and at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games establishing himself as Finland’s highest ranked player in the ITTF World Rankings table (70th – October 2016).

However, with the European Championships heading to Hungary, the country of his parents, on the 18th October; Oláh considers the 2016 Championships to be a special competition:

“It’s the first time I’m seeded at a European Championships so it’s a bigger responsibility than the previous ones. After the Rio Olympic Games this is the second biggest event for me.” said Oláh.

Backed by Home Crowd?

The Mixed Doubles category will see Oláh team up with Georgina Pota (HUN) and the Finnish competitor is relishing the opportunity to be on the receiving end of the host nation’s support, “It was always my dream to play in the Hungarian national colours in front of my home spectators.” Oláh went on to add, “It will come true – although I play in Finnish colours – when I play alongside Georgina Pota in the Mixed Doubles. Our goal is a medal; I hope many spectators will come to support us.”

Oláh is arguably known by Table Tennis fans for his dance celebration following his triumph at the 2016 Premier Lotto Nigeria Open, and the 2015 Finnish national champion is hoping that he can get the Hungarian fans on his side at the European Championships.

“It would be good to get support in the Singles event from the Hungarian fans, but I know I can’t expect this. I encourage everybody to come to the European Championships because they will see super matches and huge rallies that show how wonderful the sport of table tennis is.” – Benedek Oláh (Finland).

The Liebherr 2016 European Championships are set to take place between the 18th-21st October.

Liebherr EC Benedek Olah