by Simon Daish
The Hungarian Table Tennis Association announced the appointment of Zoltan Bátorfi as women’s team coach in December 2016, taking over the reins with the aim of guiding Hungary right to the top of the game.
Zoltan Bátorfi made five appearances as a player at World Championships between 1989 and 1999 and also went on to compete in the Men’s Singles event at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. Speaking in an exclusive interview with the ITTF, Bátorfi stated that he is looking forward to taking on the role as the women’s team coach and he hopes to build upon the good work carried out by his predecessor Peter Teglas.
“This is a great honour for me and I feel really proud to be the new national coach for the Hungarian women’s team. I hope that I can bring a breath of fresh air for the players, but it will be tough work because my predecessor Peter Teglas was very successful with the team and he’s been the national coach for the last 14 years.” – Zoltan Bátorfi.
Georgina Pota is currently Hungary’s highest ranked player on the world stage with the 31-year-old being placed at no.34 in January 2017 World rankings, while the next three Hungarian players on the list: Petra Lovas, Dora Madarasz and Szandra Pergel occupy positions 75, 78 and 96 respectively. Coach Bátorfi has outlined rankings as a key area to improve on under his leadership and is hoping to see more international exposure for his players.
“I hope all the players can improve their world ranking positions, I will try to build a strong training group, to train more and harder. I would like to try to have more international competitive female Hungarian players.” – Zoltan Bátorfi.
Hungary’s previous Women’s Team title at a European Championships came back at the 2007 edition of the competition in Belgrade, finishing in the runners up position a year later in St. Petersburg. Bátorfi has singled out the 2017 European Championships as a standout target for the year and believes that silverware is a big possibility for his players at the upcoming event to be hosted in Luxembourg.
“I hope that the next World Championships we can have some good wins, Georgina Pota can reach the last 16 and also in the doubles Madarasz and Pergel can have a good result. At the 2016 World Team Championships Hungary got 13th position, so I hope to keep this place or even get better (at the 2018 World Team Championships). Our biggest goal for this year is to win a medal at the European Team Championships!” – Zoltan Bátorfi.