Zsolt Majzik fought for and won the silver medal of the European Championship with the Hungarian Team of goalball. Four of the team of five are masseurs and two of them using guide dogs for travelling. We asked the young man playing central role in the team, about the Rotterdam championship and of course about his guide dog, Andy.
This time, it was easy to find Zsolt, because he was relaxing the fatigue of the goalball matches in their garden pool. His guide dog, the 12-year-old Andy welcomed his return home with bursting joy. He rarely guides his owner anymore.
We go somewhere when he feels like, when you don’t have to beg him a lot. But you have to, as he turns his head away in that case. Of course, I do not force him, as he is also retired just like me.
– said Zsolt laughing. For this joke, you have to know that people with visual impairment entitled for disability pension since their young adulthood. Then, Zsolt also explained that he is able to use his white cane very well, he can get to anywhere, without any difficulties including his work, where he works as a masseur, therefore he does not force his loyal companion, who will be a retired guide dog soon. They are very strongly bonded to each other. Zsolt does not considering applying for a new guide dog from our Foundation as long as Andy lives with him. For the rest of his life, Andy will get lot of love and alone resting.
What do masseuses have to do with goalball?
Not a few, as four out of the five-member of the Hungarian national team, work as a masseur. “Typical profession for blind people” – added Zsolt, and indeed it is. Our visually impaired friends have nice carrier with good professional knowledge and they have large costume base. Some is so much needed, that people want to get his service, or even for calling him by phone, have to pull an ordinal number. Playing goalball is a quite interesting sport as well, said Zsolt. They belong to the handball association, who organised their travelling to the European Championship. Their coach is Balázs Martyin is a sighted person, which cannot be otherwise, as he is the team leader of the boys, who manages everything alone. There is another member of the National team, called
Roland Orbán, who has a guide dog too, and his dog, such as Zsolt’s dog, was trained by the Baráthegyi Guide Dog School. (Yes, he is also a masseur.)
They were not frightened, they won
Zsolt praised the organisation and the venue of the competition in Rotterdam.
It was uplifting that sighted people were so much interested in parasport in the Netherlands. The huge stadium was full that way that people had to pay for the tickets, which is unimaginable here and at lot of other places. They appreciated sport achievements, our physical and mental preparation, not the curiosity, that “wow, blind people play ball”. Broadcasting and interviews were excellent, they gave us survey, asking our opinion how such competitions could be organised even better.
The Hungarian team won the group matches. Defeated the Swedish, Italian, Bulgarian opponents and went further to the elimination phase, the path led through the Azeri and the Spanish team to the final, where the Swedish team was better by 11-5, whom were defeated by our team by 8-7.
It was all an experience, we adore each other. We are a tight knit team and we had the adrenalin rush, which can not be imitated. It appeared during the 1-2 goal difference for winning against the Italian and the Spanish team, that we did not let them to catch up with us, and that we could fight for each other. In this sport, everyone attacks and defends, good condition is required. I do push ups, elliptic trainer, I know exactly what is needed for being in a good condition. The final was a gift, we got tired by that time, but we don’t mind, but the most important, that after 2018 we got to the group B and A can come.
Where was Andy in the meantime?
This loyal mate had a rest meantime at home with Zsolt’s partner and this time (too) he was in for a huge treat.
We wish lot of success to the Hungarian goalball team and wish a medal for them in the next Continental Championship.
You can read and see videos with funny stories about Zsolt and his dog in our “On
the road with my dog” series.
EC pictures: Participants at goalball at European Para Championship in Ahoy, Rotterdam on 10 August, 2023