As Hungary is preparing to host the World School Championships of Cross-Country this April, we have decided to steal 5 minutes to Gabor Balogh, President of the Hungarian School Sport Federation, to listen to his opinion on few topics of interest for the School Sports.
- How relevant are sports for the education of youngsters in your opinion?
Unfortunately, welfare indicators of public health and results of NETFIT(r) (a compulsory fitness assessment test developed by the Hungarian School Sport Federation - HSSF - and introduced to Hungarian public education last year) give a very clear answer to this question: today's youngsters are less fit physically than the youngsters of the previous generations were. These results draw more attention to the importance of daily physical activity but not just to strengthen their physical fitness but also to the importance of values that sports can give to youngsters.
- Do you think that the school system in your country includes enough physical activity and sport education, or there is room for improvement?
Hungary is in a special position as we have compulsory daily physical education in school since 2012. This new program was an important step in stopping and reversing the bad trends. However daily physical education meant a rather quantitative change. Under those circumstances HSSF - with the support of the government - undertook to start qualitative changes as well, providing all students the possibility to take part in quality physical education and giving them chance to feel good and motivated during P.E. classes even if he /she was frustrated or less motivated before because of personal, physical or other reasons.
- How important is for the growth of a young athlete to participate in an international competition?
Let me say it is more than important. By taking part in international competitions, children not just simply get to know new cultures destinations, and athletes from other countries, they also receive valuable feedback on their preparedness and the level of their sport in an international comparison.
- How can ISF, which represent school sport at international level, can get closer and more involved with national Sports federations?
The concept of grassroots sport currently being elaborated by the EU in the frame of a high level advisory group creates a great opportunity for this. Beyond other goals this group also aims at encouraging international sports federations to develop their own grassroots programs (charters) that can be adapted by national federations later. In this way, sport games will be easily accessible for these certain age groups and the more talented ones will be easier to select. ISF could have a significant role in this field in the future.
Thanks for your time and to share your experience Gabor, we will see each other on the 21-26 of April, Budapest, Hungary.