Prime Minister Viktor Orbán discussed topical international sports matters and Hungarian aid provided to Ukrainian athletes with International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, in Budapest, the PM’s press chief said on Monday. The meeting was also attended by Zsolt Gyulay, head of the Hungarian Olympic Committee (MOB), Pal Schmitt, Hungary’s former president, Balázs Fürjes, a state secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, and IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper. The sports officials praised Budapest’s role as a sporting capital and the major sporting events it hosts like the ongoing World Aquatics Championships and next year’s World Athletics Championships.
Orbán and Bach underscored the importance of establishing peace in Ukraine as soon as possible, noting the ability of sports and the Olympic movement to promote peace. They also discussed the joint efforts of the IOC, sports federations, charity organisations and the Hungarian government that have brought nearly 100 Ukrainian athletes safely to Hungary.
According to the newsletter of the event’s orginising committee, Bach said during his visit to Budapest that Hungary has hosted many world and European championships in recent years, and that all events had passed “exceptionally well”. “The icing on the cake is that the athletes, too, are successful; they’re real role models for the Hungarian people. So being in Hungary once again is a very good experience,” Bach said. Referring to the Duna Aréna which hosts swimming events, he said the Hungarian audience not only cheered their own competitors but everyone else, too, and he praised the atmosphere of FINA World Championship events in Budapest. Looking ahead to the next Olympics, he said expectations were high for the Hungarian swimming team in Paris. Regarding the organisation of the World Championships, he noted that Hungary had had 131 days to prepare for the event, proving its flexibility, creativity and efficiency. For the 2027 event, which Hungary won in 2019, the country will be even better prepared, he said. “Budapest is a beautiful, sports-loving city, as is the country as a whole. Walking about here, you’re surrounded by history, but when you go to a sporting event, you see the future,” Bach said.