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08.02.2013, 09:16
The rising handball stars of 2013, part 2: Szabolcs Szöllősi
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Hungary’s 24-year-old line player has ambitious plans for the upcoming road to EHF EURO 2014
 

The rising handball stars of 2013, part 2: Szabolcs Szöllősi

24-year-old Szabolcs Szöllősi is arguably one of the greatest talents in Hungarian handball. He made his national team debut in 2011 and was part of the Hungarian squad that finished 8th at EHF EURO 2012 in Serbia.

However, it was a long road for the line player to discover handball as his favourite sport as well as his preferred position on the court.

“I started playing football and water polo, but my sister played handball. I saw her matches from time to time, and I wanted to follow her,” Szöllősi says about his very first steps in sport.

But his progress was fast and he was only 16 when MKB Veszprém called upon him. Back then, he was a back player and playmaker before a finally becoming a line player.

In 2008 he joined Csurgó, a small town’s team with big plans. In the years to follow the club as well as Szöllősi himself became more and more successful in the national championship, with Csurgó now being one of the biggest threats to the established clubs of Veszprém and Szeged.

And the team wants to achieve even more.

“I hope we will play in the EHF Cup next season, but we as a team, and me personally have even more ambitious plans: our goal is to take part in the VELUX EHF Champions League as soon as possible,” says Szöllősi.

Until now Szöllősi could only gain international handball experience when he played for the national team. He made his debut on 8 June 2011 when Hungary beat Bosnia and Herzegovina 22:19 in an EHF EURO 2012 qualification match.

So far he has scored 47 goals in 31 appearances.

“I will never forget my first training or the first match against Bosnia and Herzegovina, but my most memorable moments are the last minutes of the match against Spain at EHF EURO 2012,” says Szöllősi.

“I arrived at the tournament as a substitute but I got the opportunity to play because of an injury.

“I played only six minutes against Spain, but I scored a goal and got a penalty for my team only one second before the final whistle.

"Finally, we equalised the game with this 7-metre shot." 

Missing out on the London 2012 Olympic Games, when Hungary placed 4th, was a big disappointment for Szöllősi but also forced him to train even harder.

And the Hungarian fans could see the result of his work in January at the 2013 World Championship.

Szöllősi knows well that he still has to improve on court

Compared to 2012 he played a much bigger role, being on the court for an average of 21 minutes per match – almost three times more than at EHF EURO 2012 – and scoring 19 goals from 21 shots with a good performance in defence as well.

"I was very happy that I had the opportunity to prove myself. Our head coach, Lajos Mocsai, gave me a bigger role during the tournament and I tried to do my best for the team.

"I think we were close to the semi-finals, but we had a wrong first half against Denmark, and it sealed our fate although we lost by only two goals at the end.

“But from now on we will focus on the EHF EURO qualification matches. We will play against Croatia twice in April (between 3 and 7 April), and after they beat us at the Olympic Games and at the world championship, we want to win against them.

"We have to be concentrated and I am sure that we will qualify for EHF EURO 2014."

However, Szöllősi knows well that he still has to improve on court: "I would like to play better and with more self-confidence in defence, and I would like to gain more experience on the international level.

"I hope I will be able to have a permanent place in the national team until next year’s EHF EURO.

"My dream is to stand on the podium with the national team. I hope the best is yet to come for us."


*This is the second part of a new series powered by eurohandball.com. In the weeks to come we will throw the spotlight on the many young handball talents all around Europe that are likely to make an impact on the international stage in the months and years to come.

Photos: Hungarian Handball Federation/Anikó Kovács; EHF


TEXT: Gábor Liszkay / ts
 
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