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22.07.2016, 14:40
Hungary’s young left back fires on all cylinders
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RISING STARS #6: Patrik Ligetvári at one point played for three Hungarian national teams and now aims for a medal at the Men’s 20 EHF EURO in Denmark
 

Hungary’s young left back fires on all cylinders

Patrik Ligetvári is one of the most prolific talents of Hungarian handball. The 2-metre-tall left back, who was raised at the Veszprém handball academy, has everything what it takes to become a handball great just like his idol, Carlos Pérez.

Ligetvári’s father has been a lifelong fan of Veszprém and was a season ticket holder when his son began his handball career in the nearby city of Várpalota. The extremely talented left back was still a youth player when he took to the court in his father’s favourite club’s jersey for the first time at the age of 16.

To provide the youngster with more minutes of action, Veszprém transferred Ligetvári to Balatonfüred where a lot of Veszprém-based players gathered under the guidance of ex-Fotex hero István Csoknyai. 

Ligetvári joined Balatonfüred just in time to take part in the team’s first ever international competition, the EHF Cup in 2014/15, in which he gained further international experience after having already played for Hungary's youth and junior national teams.

With Hungary's under 18 squad he won silver at the Men’s 18 EHF EURO 2014 in Poland. The Youth World Championship 2015 was then less successful for Ligetvári and his teammates, as they finished only 10th. But this year they aim for a medal in Denmark where they meet Germany, Croatia and Sweden in the preliminary round of the Men’s 20 EHF EURO.

“I’m very critical of myself; I’m never content with my performance. I know it takes a lot of hard work to win a medal at the international stage but I believe we can do it. I truly believe we can aim as high as we did two years ago,” says Ligetvári.

Photo: Hungary's under 20 national team ahead of the Men's 20 EHF EURO

On the edge of making it to Poland

In late 2015, it came to no surprise that then head coach Talant Dujshebaev, whose task at the helm of the Hungarian national team was to introduce youngsters into the squad, called upon Ligetvári for the training camps ahead of the Men’s EHF EURO in Poland. At that time the left back was playing for three national teams: the first team, the B-team and the junior national team.

“I’m getting used to the lack of free time and it makes me proud to play for my country. I have the same motivation for the B-team as I have for any other national teams,” said Ligetvári, who eventually did not make the cut for the EHF EURO.

However, this might have even spurred him on further, as he has improved a great deal since and became the first-choice left back at Balatonfüred. Ligetvári gained confidence and improved his defensive contribution to become a key player at János Gyurka’s junior national team.

Hungary’s under 20 team is widely considered to be a promising generation and they will have the chance to prove their worth when then Men’s 20 EHF EURO throws off next Tuesday.


TEXT: Bence Martha / ts
 
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