Person of the month
˝Charity events are full of emotion˝ - Áron Szilágyi sabre fencer
In 2006, at the out-start of the activities of New Europe Foundation, Áron Szilágyi was one of the first young nominees who won the support of the MOL Talent Support Program. Meanwhile the young sable fencer, a two-time Olympic champion, has become a member of the MOL team and has always supported good causes. From 2017 on he is the Goodwill Ambassador of New Europe Foundation – the exemplary sportsman participates in the charity programs organized by the Foundation for the youth.
How did you start the cooperation with MOL New Europe Foundation?
In 2006, the year when the Foundation was established, I was one of the youths who got shortlisted in the MOL Talent Support Program. Then I was 16, and similarly to all other young sportsmen this support gave me a considerable impulse to my career. Luckily, I soon managed to deserve that support with my good results, as a year later I became a member of the senior Hungarian team for the World Fencing Championships. After the London Olympics, as an Olympic champion, I represented the Foundation at various events, award ceremonies and programs, all the more so, as I felt its attitude, intellectuality, creed, social sensitivity and system of values very close to mine.
Was there any event you participated together with the foundation which particularly touched you?
It is difficult to highlight one, as each event is memorable for a different reason. The award ceremonies are more elegant events, it means considerable prestige for me when I can give the awards to splendid talents and excellent professionals in wonderful scenes. The charitable events are full of emotions, in these occasions I always deeply experience the saying that it is good to give. I have very nice memories of the competitions for drawings and texts, when between two trainings or in the evenings I went through the entries and the lot of lovely contributions always made my day.
Why do you think it is important for a well-known and appreciated person to support good causes?
Even if I were not a two-time Olympic champion I would support good causes, as the cause is always more important than the individual. Being well-known has many advantages we are much more in the focus of the media and the public opinion, which can help get important, messages through to the people in a clear, accentuated way within a short time. I believe that popularity and publicity are opportunities that can be used in a good and beneficial way, and whenever it is possible, I make use of this chance.
In your opinion what kind of sportsman behaviour can be an example for the young talents?
The best way is to be with them, day by day in the fencing-hall. In the fencing school of Vasas Club there is hardly any room because so many children go there for fencing training; therefore even I can get enough space to start training only after 6 pm. But this is right so! I remember, when I was a little boy it was a great privilege for me to watch the training of the illustrious starts of those times, Zsolt Nemcsik and Domonkos Ferjancsik, as they were fencing next to me. I often notice that the children are watching me, trying to copy my movements, from warming up to the way I put on my armet. Through my example they can also see how much you have to work to achieve results and to be successful, how much humbleness you need for approaching this sport, how important discipline, attention, hard work and the respect for your trainers and team-mates are. For the younger generations I hope that these are also ways and patterns to follow and remember.
If you could solve a current important social issue of the world – irrespective of your free time or the geographical area – what would that be?
Unfortunately, one man is not enough to change the world, however, in their own way each individual is able to add some contribution to making the world a better place, be it environmental protection, starvation and famines or armed conflicts. In my view the best investment is always to devote energy, knowledge, responsible views and love into our own children, actually in the future generation, because they are growing into this world of the future, and if they are armoured with these characteristics and personal traits, they will be more susceptible to the social problems and will also be better at solving them.
Mentally and physically, how can you further develop yourself after your stunning results and successes?
For me one of the most important motivations is development itself. I set small goals which I want to achieve; then again I am searching for new goals which are worth working and struggling for. Physically it is also an important aim to meet the more and more athletic demands and abilities necessary for fencing, while extending my capabilities of tactics and techniques to become more complex and complete, and to be mentally prepared and concentrated both on the planche and in civilian life. One of the most beautiful sides of fencing is the fact that you can always further develop, enhance and polish your knowledge achieved so far, actually it is also true for us that a good fencer learns until his death.
MOL Talent Support Program assisted Áron Szilágyi in his preparations between 2006 and 2010.