Dr. György LAKATOS, remembered, respected, revered
Born on Monday 27th May 1918; today marks the 100th birthday of one of the pillars of the European Table Tennis Union; the organisation’s former General Secretary and later President.
It is a day to remember the enormous contribution made by Hungary’s Dr. György Lakatos who passed away in on Monday 9th July 2001.
by Robert Szentgyorgyi
A native of Budapest, upon finishing secondary school, he studied law and philosophy and obtained a doctorate in both.
He started playing table tennis while at secondary school and, as from 1934, regularly attended table tennis training sessions.
After World War Two he assumed the role of reorganising the Hungarian Table Tennis Association; between 1947 and 1950, serving as its General Secretary. Notably, from 1945 until the end of his life he was a member of the Board of the Association. Significantly, in the intervening years between 1982 and 1986 he was President then Vice President; thereafter he served as Honorary President.
Most pertinently, György Lakatos took part in the formation of the European Table Tennis Union. He fulfilled the role of Honorary General Secretary. It was thanks also to his efforts that in 1958 Hungary hosted the first European Championships. He was President then Vice President between 1982 and 1986.
Furthermore, he was an internationally acknowledged sports diplomat; one resulting factor was that in 1989 the International Table Tennis Federation honoured his outstanding achievements in sports diplomacy by awarding the gold medal.
Impressively, he taught himself English, German and French and had master trainer and international referee qualifications. He wrote eleven specialist books, including a rule book plus numerous press articles.
Sport was not his only pursuit. Between 1945 and 1951 he worked at the Ministry of Public Education and later on as an editor at the Kossuth Book Publishing Company. He also served as a senior editor at Népsport and Nemzeti Sport sports dailies between 1987 and 1989.
Dedicated, he assisted in the work of the Hungarian Table Tennis Association until the end of his life.