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07.05.2017, 11:20◄ last page     


INTERVIEW: Once a world class goalkeeper Katalin Pálinger is now working to further improve the TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4 as vice president of the Hungarian Handball Federation
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Pálinger: Great honour to host the most prestigious event

Katalin Pálinger was the best goalkeeper Hungary ever gave to the world of handball. The ex-Györ player retired in 2012 and was named as vice president of the Hungarian Handball Federation in 2015, where she is not only responsible for women’s handball but a key figure of the organizing branch of the TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4. Ginnie, as her fans knew her, gave an exclusive interview to ehfFINAL.com.

"I always knew I wasn’t going to be a coach but I wanted to remain around the game after my retirement. When I got my first assignment in Györ I immediately knew I found my place albeit I had not pursue a career in management before,” Pálinger said.

Days before the TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4 the 38 year-old ex-goalkeeper became a member of the Hungarian Olympic Committee but it was the Budapest showpiece that took most of her time lately.

"The organising team has done a marvellous job and I am proud to be part of it. Last year, when we started negotiating about the extension of Budapest’s contract for the FINAL4, we knew that even though the event had been an excellent one, there was room to improve.”

Budapest, the little sister of Cologne

"From certain points of view it is foolish to compare men’s and women’s handball events but as far as the venue, the show, the spectacle and the concentrated media attention is concerned I think we can proudly claim the TIPPMIX EHF FINAL4 is the season's highlight just as much as the Cologne event is the epix of the men’s season,” said Pálinger.

"I was a regular guest at the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in Cologne but last year I did not go to Germany to watch games but to see into every little detail the organisers handle so effectively.

We learn from them and we also learn from the experiences of the previous tournaments. I think it is safe to say that this year we are prepared to deal with any possible issues.”

Three more years in Hungary

"It was a great honour when the European Handball Federation awarded Budapest to host the first three FINAL4 tournaments and we took it as a reward for the job well done to be trusted for three more years. This is the most prestigious tournament of women’s club handball and we are proud to have a chance to show the world how much Hungarian people love handball, which is one of our national sports.”

Pálinger claimed the organizers were out to find the best experts for every subtask and believed the 2017 event was the one when all pieces of puzzles found their places from security via show elements to marketing issues.

"There is always room to improve and year by year we learn how to make the event better. The fact that for the first time we managed to sell out the Papp László Sportaréna proves we have met the high requirements of both the EHF and handball fans.”

From a goalkeeper’s point of view

As we talked after the semi-finals Pálinger could not hide her joy as Győr made it to the final but the ex-goalkeeper knew anything less than victory is a disappointment for her former team so there was nothing to celebrate.

"These are the strongest teams of the competition so it is very hard to pick a winner. All I can say is this: the team with the best goalkeeping performance will win the trophy,” Pálinger foretold.


TEXT: Bence Martha / br

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