11 February 2024


Györ European Open 2024


For the Gyor European Open crowd in the Audi Arena, many were delighted to see one of their former national team members step out in the home colours. Decorated +100kg athlete, BOR Barna has taken up a role within the national team, but now as a leader and educator.

At the end of last year I received a request to be Head Coach of the U23 team, and also to support the senior team during training. This is my first competition in this new role and so this is my new job this year! About two or three times a week I’m travelling between Paks and Budapest, also we have a good relationship with the senior and junior coaches so if someone is not available we can cover each other. Apart from that it is a normal routine, travelling to international tournaments. 

Bor can boast numerous European Championship medals as well as World Championship silver and bucket loads of experience, ready to pass on to the next generation. For Team Hungary, focus has been on up and comer SIPOCZ Richard for some time now as he collected eight continental titles at cadet, junior and U23 level, inclusive of his EYOF win right here in Gyor.

SIPOCZ Richard (HUN) © Gabi Juan

He did not only move to my city but he is under the leadership of Sensei HANGYASI Laszlo. He is his personal coach, I think he made the best decision he could possibly make because we are getting closer to the Olympics and he needs the points. We know that Hangyasi is an expert coach in the -100kg and +100kg categories, so he is really in the best hands. 

As a former heavyweight athlete, Bor knows the difficulties the athletes face and the support required,

Fortunately I think I can give him enough time, and support him physically on the mat and when I’m not busy with my daily routine and primary duties, I make sure I go to his training to help with kumikata, and even our Olympic Champion, KOVACS Antal, is making time to come and support him. So I feel like we’ve created a good team for him, people with a lot of experience and he needs a lot of emotional support at times, and because of this experience we can help in that aspect as well. 

Dusselfdorf Grand Prix 2017 © Gabriela Sabau

What are the biggest differences Bor can see between his time as a competitor compared to present day?

Its never a good idea to compare ‘then and now’ because the generations are changing, in my time it was really hard to bypass a Russian or Japanese in the heavyweights, they were really dominating, these guys are still good but now there are additional challenges. The new generation are learning you need to be good and strong, and always in life you have to adapt to what you’re facing. 

So how is it to be ‘back’?

When I retired in 2017 after the World Championships I really struggled to distance myself and not be a part of this circle. A lot of years have passed by and I gained different experience within my club and I’m really thrilled to be back, this is really my family. 


Author: Thea Cowen