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Martin Takács: ‘When volunteering, great problem-solving skill is a must!’

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Neatness and perseverance! Martin Takács summarised in these two worlds the basic skills of volunteers. His experience is unique because he worked several times at various international championships as a team liaison. His biggest challenge was at the 16th FINA World Championships in Kazan, where he looked after the Hungarian men’s water polo team. He told his best stories, both inspiring and useful for volunteers who will work at the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest and Balatonfüred this year.

It was not a surprise Martin got this hard, challenging but prestigious job! Serving as Team Liaison for the Russian team at the 2014 European Water Polo Championships in Budapest, his knowledge of the Russian language and the year he spent in Moscow as a student – all this paired with his self-confidence and determination - convinced the Kazan Organising Committee.

I had two skype interviews with the Organisers. It was very serious, they wanted to get to know my problem-solving skills, and neatness besides the language knowledge. It was not easy at all…! I needed to organise my journey after receiving the green light from Kazan. My project was only to book my flights, it made easy everything. The OC however offered accommodation, meals, uniform and free public transport in exchange for my work.’-  remembered Martin the World Championships from two years before.

‘Just as I welcomed the Hungarian men’s water polo team, the local volunteers were waiting for me at the Kazan train station as well. It was an awesome, calming feeling because I just arrived in an unknown city.’- Martin highlighted the importance of small details.

There was no rest after that, the challenge started!

‘I had the most interesting and colourful job during the Championships, I accompanied the team everywhere, taking care of whatever request came up. Because of the Russian cuisine for example – being very different from the Hungarian - some players needed extra food, such as sour cream. Also, changing the training schedule became my routine by the end of the tournament.’– Martin recounted some interesting situations.

As Martin already mentioned, team liaisons must be able to solve the most challenging and extraordinary problems, regardless of time or location. In his case for example, to find a good gym for an affordable price for an entire water polo team:
‘At the beginning of the World Championships the Hungarians did not have very strong opponents in the group. That’s why the team had dryland and gym trainings in this period as well – the only problem was that the venues did not have gyms... I was asked therefore to find a suitable place to train, but for a good price. I was very lucky because I managed to maximise the cost effectiveness! The team got to use the gym for free in exchange for some photos with the players.’

As an experienced volunteer, Martin has already applied to work at the 17th FINA World Championships in Budapest and Balatonfüred, too:
According to my personal traditions and experience, I would like to work as a team liaison again. It would be awesome to help the Russian athletes, including the world famous synchronised swimming team. It would be definitely easier to find sour cream here, in Budapest.’- Martin said.