Hungary Faces Gold Shortage on First Day of Belgrade European Championships

The Hungarian team, widely regarded as the strongest at the Belgrade Europeans, surprisingly failed to win a gold medal on the first day of competition despite being favourites in three finals held in Belgrade, Serbia.

Balazs Hollo, competing in the 400 metres freestyle, and the Hungarian teams in the women’s and men’s 4×200 freestyle relay all disappointed, failing to meet expectations.

The absence of the injured French swimmer Leon Marchand, a specialist in the medley, proved a crucial factor, with his absence allowing the Hungarian duo Gabor Zombori and Balazs Hollo to initially threaten the top spots. However, their form faltered, and Hungary could not win any of the three events.

Ultimately, it was Apostolos Papastamos of Greece who took the top spot, posting a time of 4:10.83 minutes to claim the European championship, with Balazs Hollo securing silver and Gabor Zombori bronze. The Hungarian women’s 4×200 freestyle relay team finished with the silver medal, behind Israel’s dominant performance, while the men’s relay squad took silver ahead of Greece, losing to Lithuania by a margin of less than a second.

Anastasia Gorbenko’s strong start for Israel, Danas Rapsys’ quick swimming for Lithuania, and Zsuszanna Jakabos’s absence from the Hungarian team were some of the factors that contributed to the surprise results. Meanwhile, Marchand secured his first Olympic ticket, as he finished the French Championships, held in Chartres, with a world-leading time of 4:10.62 in the 400 medley final, ensuring his participation in the upcoming Olympics in Paris.

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