Tue | Apr 16, 2024

Completing the collection

Published:Monday | August 28, 2023 | 12:07 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Làszló  Balássy shows his collection of athletes’ headshots and signatures. Balássy was seen trying to get athletes to sign his collection at the  Hungarian University of Sports Sciences in Budapest, Hungary on Wednesday, August 16  ahead of the star
Làszló Balássy shows his collection of athletes’ headshots and signatures. Balássy was seen trying to get athletes to sign his collection at the Hungarian University of Sports Sciences in Budapest, Hungary on Wednesday, August 16 ahead of the start of the 2023 World Athletics Championships.

BUDAPEST, Hungary

At every major championship, the Jamaican team attracts attention from many international fans.

For the last nine days after their training sessions at the Hungarian University of Sports Science, onlookers would watch from behind the fence, hoping to get a glimpse of Jamaica’s stars. But one has a collection that he is completing to document the championships.

Meet Laszlo Balassy, a member of the Hungarian Olympic Association who has a book with all the athletes competing at the championships, including the Jamaicans, and he has appeared at every training session. A big athletics fan, he is also an admirer of the strong team that Jamaica assembled this year.

“I’m a fan of athletics in general, and the Jamaican team has a lot of great participants. I’m actually a journalist for the Olympic committee in Hungary, and I work close to here (training centre). I normally concentrate on the Olympics because of all the different types of athletes in the team, and this is my first time focusing on relays, 400m and 100m. I think they’ll definitely get medals (in the future), and I want some signatures from now,” Balassy told The Gleaner.

Balassy wants to obtain as many signatures as he can get. Although accredited, his access can’t get him through the training gates, but he stands outside to get an athlete to complete his collection.

“Yes, I’ve seen the list of participants before the tournament, did some research online and got a lot of pictures and put everything together. I wanted all signatures, but I just have to stand here and see who comes by,” Balassy said.

Every Jamaican athlete that has passed Balassy has signed his book. Before the championships began, he had predicted five gold medals for Jamaica as he was confident they would do well in the sprints as well as in other areas. Jamaica ended the championships with three gold medals.