x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Hungarian's Olympic dream is forwarded to Rio

Leaving London empty handed has only made Katinka Hosszu's resolve to medal stronger for Rio 2016, writes Ahmed Rizvi.

Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu is hoping to use the disappointment of not winning medal at the London Games to stoke her fire for Rio 2016.
Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu is hoping to use the disappointment of not winning medal at the London Games to stoke her fire for Rio 2016.

Dubai // Earlier this year, Katinka Hosszu made her third appearance at an Olympic Games and for the third time, she returned empty-handed.

The Hungarian came close, though, in the women's 400m individual medley, but finished fourth behind Ye Shewin, Elizabeth Beisel and Li Xuanxu.

Missing out on a medal did rankle for a while, but Hosszu has now made an Olympic medal at Rio de Janeiro 2016 her main target.

"Coming in fourth in London did hurt me a little bit at first because it was a case of being so close and yet so far from a medal," said the 23 year old, who has had more success at the World and the European Championships than the Olympics.

At the 2009 World Championships, she took the 400m medley gold and added a bronze in two other events. The next year, she took three gold - two in the individual events and one with the relay team - at the European Championships, and a silver. Given those success, the lack of medals at the Olympics is a bit more frustrating.

"The [Olympic] dream just didn't happen for me and accepting it was a bit hard in the beginning," said Hosszu, who is studying psychology at the University of Southern California. "But then I thought about it and went about setting new goals that I have before me now. I really want to be in Rio and that's what I am aiming for."

Her plans also include winning the overall women's title in the Fina Swimming World Cup this year and she could not have asked for a better start. In the first event of the eight-leg series, she had an impressive haul of eight gold, one silver and a bronze.

On the opening day at the Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Sports Complex, she was on the podium in each of her races, winning gold in the 800m freestyle, 200m freestyle and the 200m individual medley, a bronze in the 200m backstroke and silver with the Hungary mixed-relay team.

Yesterday, she topped the podium in all her individual races - the 400m individual medley, 200m butterfly, 400m freestyle and the 100m individual medley - and also took gold with Hungary team in the mixed 4x50m freestyle.

"The World Cup will help me perfectly as I will be racing so much," she said. "At the same time it will all add up towards my experience of competing on the big stage like an Olympic Games. The goal therefore is to race more and learn a lot from the whole competition."

Born in Baja, Hungary, Hosszu has been swimming since the age of "two or three", learning the basics from her grandfather.

"I spent most of my childhood at the pool playing in the water and hanging out with my grandfather," she said.

Daily training routines started from the age of six and she made her first appearance on the Hungarian national team at the age of 13. Two years later, she was at her first Olympics. By the time she makes her fourth appearance at the Games, she will be 27.

"It's never late for anyone," Hosszu said. "I have a goal of competing at least until Rio 2016. I think everyone who is an elite athlete has the goal of an Olympic medal as that is the biggest accomplishment one can have.

"This is definitely on my mind and I am working towards that."

arizvi@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE