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News Details

Date: 7/19/2016

Gabriella Horvath, Deputy Secretary General of the Hungarian Handball Federation and Local Organising Committee Coordinator for the 2016 IHF Men’s and Women’s Beach Handball World Championship looked back at the week-long event and spoke to IHF.info.


IHF.info: The 2016 IHF Men’s and Women’s Beach Handball World Championship has now finished, but when did you first start working on it?


Gabriella Horvath: The bid was one and a half year ago in December and ever since then we worked on the concept of how we can have the best possible event. It’s been a long journey.


IHF.info: Away from the handball family, who supported you with the event?


Gabriella Horvath: The City of Budapest gave us a really big help; people were really supporting the event. We also received some support from the Hungarian Olympic Committee as well. All the authorities here in Budapest helped and provided us with special permission for the event, which is necessary on Margaret Island.


We believed this island could be the best possible place for this event, being in the heart of Budapest but separated, and in a green area.


IHF.info: You certainly had the extremes of weather in Budapest – 35 degrees one day and then a site evacuation due to severe thunderstorms another day. How hard was that from an event management perspective?


Gabriella Horvath: Yes, we had all this sunshine, rain and heat. This all this gave us challenges, but once the competition started I stopped worrying and panicking and just tried to solve one problem after the other, but we couldn’t manage without all the people helping.


It was great working with the IHF Beach Handball Working Group because they were really flexible and understanding in every situation, helping us a lot.


At the same time I can’t miss out our volunteers who were ready to jump into different roles despite the fact that they were designated to those specific areas - my colleagues in those moments really did not  have a problem doing anything, no matter what their position was, this was clear when everybody worked together in digging the sand after the rain to save the event.


IHF.info: How many people came to the event and how many people worked to make it happen?


Gabriella Horvath: The capacity of the three courts was just over 2,500 people and we had five days of events and despite the heavy rain, a lot of people came, sp very roughly, more than 10,000 people came overall to the event.


In addition to this we had 150 volunteers working in two shifts and another 50-60 people on behalf of the federation or external security, so at the venue at one time, maybe 300-350 people were working hard to ensure things went well on a daily basis.



IHF.info: When you look back at Budapest 2016, was there a moment you had a chance to take it all in?


Gabriella Horvath: One of the proudest moments was when I entered the venue for the first time after it had nearly finished being constructed. I missed a few days of construction due to work so when I entered the venue two days before it started, it was already nearly working.  The venue was dressed, and when I entered I felt like ‘OK this is going to be beautiful’,


I sometimes had the opportunity to sit in the fan zone, enjoying the people walking around and seeing them enjoy themselves. In those moments I felt that this zone was a good idea.


Also, when I watched the TV transmission with all those cameras and different angles and the venue looked great with really good beach handball being played that really made me proud.


IHF.info: The fan zone with all the entertainment for families and areas for sitting with food and drink was a highlight for fans and players.


Gabriella Horvath: This was one of the main concepts for us. We wanted to attract people because we believe that this is a beautiful sport and we wanted to show it to as many people as possible. But we needed to have some side events and side shows so that families could feel comfortable to come with their kids and be sure that the kids will be entertained.


This worked really well because they could stay, watch the games they wanted to watch, have fun and good catering in the fan zone and enjoy themselves.


I think it was a good idea to play it this way and I really hope we have some new fans from it.


IHF.info: In your dual role with the Hungarian Handball Federation will you be looking to work more with beach handball?


Gabriella Horvath: The federation has really been behind beach handball for a couple of years now, because we’ve been successful with both teams and youth teams.


The general aim in Hungary, especially with this tournament was to teach people what beach handball is, not only the spectators, but to our own people in handball who were keeping a little bit of distance from this discipline.


I was happy to see a lot of faces from handball being curious to see what it is and we have had excellent feedback from TV who got really interested. They had really good viewer numbers so I hope we have shown it to a lot of handball fans.


I believe that most people who saw beach handball fell in love with it.