No, we have not forgotten the Juniors. After the interviews with world champions Joanne Eccles & Johannes Kay we now bombarded the European champion Balázs Bence with questions. Did you know that he used to play in theater & that his school supports him a lot?
How was the whole European Championship experience at home? How were the moments just before that last freestyle? How did you feel and what did you talk about? Even during the big presentation, do you think at all?
It felt amazing to compete at home. The male competition was really high level, it was a challenge to succeed there. The spectators were great, my loved ones were all here to support me. There was a great pressure on me before the last freestyle – it is hard to explain, it is something you have to experience. I wanted to win. I was alone before the freestyle, not talking to anybody actually, trying to leave the whole world out, and just concentrate on what I have to do. I did not want to know the scores of the others, nor how they performed. I closed my ears till the last moment, so that I do not hear the scores of Miro Rengel, who went just before me, and fought for the first place too. I do not think of anything when I perform – I just feel it, live with the music and the moves.
What does the title mean for you & for vaulting in Hungary? Was there some feedback from the media?
It is a great honor to me to win this title – I am the first ever Championship medalist of Hungary in vaulting. It is honor, but also a responsibility to keep on going and to show the world that I can do even more. I hope that this will be a help to Hungarian vaulting as well to get more support, fame and appreciation. There was quite a big media coverage, many newspapers and television channels have distributed the news. But still I usually feel that people in Hungary do not know what I actually do. But in Kaposvár, my hometown more and more people know our team now, and there are many emerging vaulting teams too – that’s already a step forward.
To become an European Champion you have to train a lot. How did you manage being a student & a top athlete who competes at the European Championships at the same time? What did your classmates think about you doing such an unknown and girls dominated sport?
My school is very tolerant concerning this question, so I had no problems matching the two. I can go to competitions at any time of the year, they support me, just like many other talents, regardless of how weird the sport one does is to them. The school was also proud of my success, many have come to the competition from my class to see me. My two best friends and my girlfriend even worked as volunteers throughout the event, so they were there all the time with me. I am also very grateful for my form-master, who always helps me, even though I know that I am not always the best student of hers 😀
Each year you surprise the audience with another exceptional performance. From what do you get your freestyle theme ideas? Which costume did you like the most?
My trainer Krisztina Villányi is my biggest support in finding the best story that matches me. We take the ideas from tales and movies. I like light and funny topics, those are the closest to me. My favorites were The Mask and Aladdin, they were the most creative ones concerning movements and music interpretation. I always try to choose topics in which I can give myself. I used to play in theater too, so I have learned how to make a character alive – and the more I like it, the more realistic it will be.
What was your favorite song? How do you practice the freestyle to be always that precise in time to the music?
The same: The Mask and Aladdin – they are kind of easy to work with, and give me some spirit. I do a lot of work on barrel with music, and repeat the whole thing hundred times both on barrel and on horse to make everything perfect. I always work with different people too, to get some new ideas. This year for example we had a training camp with Nicolas Andreani, which was a great experience.
Last year you were on the road with Bram a KCM Vaultinghorse from the Netherlands, this year you had Emir du Beaumont from Italy. How difficult is it for you, the horse & the lunger to get used to each other? How do you train at home without these horses?
I do not find it difficult, you have to be open towards all the people and horses, this is the key. Luckily I always have the chance to train with the horse I compete on. Here, at home I also train on some different horses to train myself for competing on different horses. Our good old friends here at home are okay for training, but competitions would be too much for them, and they would not get the score I need – so I have to start with someone else.
Next year you have to compete as Senior. Are you excited?
Of course, I am excited! Its senior! Next year will be interesting, as I heard, many people will quit competing I do not yet know what position in the ranking to expect. I stay realistic: I just want to show my best! My primary aim is still to entertain, to show people the fun side of vaulting 🙂
What do you do when you are not vaulting?
Fishing! It is a great mean of taking a day off, it is something very different. My girlfriend also usually accompanies me, and then I can totally escape from the world for a while.
Anything else you would like to add?
I would like to thank this year and all the previous ones to my family, my loved ones. I would not have been able to do this without them!