First staged in the Hungarian capital city of Budapest in 1989, the World Youth Festival returns to the international calendar; the fifth edition will be held in Győr from Tuesday 21st to Sunday 26th June.
Ivan Herendi, founder of the World Festival, was delighted that the tournament will return to the international scene.
What are your memories of the 1st Youth Festival in 1989?
A miracle took place in the Budapest Sports Hall, the largest indoor sports facility in the Hungarian capital at the time. Some 700 promising teenage players from almost 30 countries spent unforgettable days together in a unique event which had never happened before in the sport of table tennis. Additionally, sightseeing tours, boat trips, rock concerts and discos were held. Notably, the French duo of Jacques Secretin and Vincent Purkart gave an unforgettable exhibition.
How did the tournament change over the years?
The 1st World Youth Table Tennis Festival, as well as the second, held a year later in Budapest, was only open to youngsters in two age groups: junior and cadet, winners included Vladimir Samsonov. Later after a break of ten years, in 2000 and then in 2002, the Hopes category was introduced as well as team events in the older groups.
What led to the idea to once again host the tournament?
Ivan Herendi, one of the initiators of the first World Festival and Gyula Lipovits, co-chair of the Organising Committee at that time and founder of the popular Janos Molnár International Memorial Competition, had a big dream. Ivan suggested: why not organise the event again, one which was so successful in the past? The idea was well received from the moment it was conceived. The Hungarian Table Tennis Association and the International Table Tennis Federation supported; the 5th World Youth Table Tennis Festival became a reality.
What events can we expect to witness in Győr?
Similar to the World Table Tennis Youth Series, the Hungarian tournament will be the perfect opportunity to include the under 11 and under 13 age group events in addition to under 15, under 17 and under 19 age groups. As previously planned, this large-scale event will not only be open to national teams, the organisers are also looking for entries from clubs and regional teams. Players from Japan, Germany, Czech Republic, Romania, Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam are already inquiring. A special feature of the event will be cash prizes for the leading nations: first place will receive US$ 5,000, second US$3,000 and the third US$2,000.
Why choose Győr?
The Olympic Sports Park in Győr, established in 2017 for the European Youth Olympic Festival, is a state-of-the-art complex. It is easily and quickly accessible to Budapest, Vienna and Bratislava. The opening and closing ceremonies will be held in the city’s main square, with an unforgettable party to be expected. We will have 47 tables for tournaments and a further 22 tables for youngsters to warm up. The programme will include an international seminar for coaches and an international training camp. Furthermore, the centre has high-quality leisure facilities, a swimming pool, zoo, riding club, boat rides and a small city train you can take to explore Győr.