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Member Associations - 6 Aug 2020

István JÓNYER got a star for the 70th birthday

Now on one of the stars in the sky above will bear the name of István JÓNYER


Despite the pandemic situation, a considerable number of guests gathered at the László Ormai Table Tennis Hall for the 70th birthday of István JÓNYER. The four-time world and four-time European champion classic also received an unusual gift for this anniversary.


The current members of the women's and men's Hungarian table tennis team gathered for István JÓNYER, but we also found celebrities inside and outside of the sport world, and of course, the former players of the celebrated party would not miss the celebration either. From them, Gábor GERGELY gave a speech – we could say that the thoughts came from his mind, but rather from a little lower.


 “Once before the birthday of our master Zoltán BERCZIK, I formulated and wrote down the thoughts I wanted to say” recalled Gábor GERGELY, with whom István JÓNYER became World champion in doubles in 1975 and in team in 1979. “Then when I stood on the podium and started saying ’Dear Zoli…’ I looked down at the paper and then threw it away in a theatrical gesture because it was in my heart what I wanted to say. This was the case now with Pista. I thanked him for his being, because in the Hungarian and also in the world of universal table tennis he is ’the Jónyer’ after all. A one-time and unrepeatable man. He was helpful in everything, standing beside the table and in his private life as well. Without him, Hungarian table tennis would not have gone so far where it did. I also added that he should put everything aside, knock on the door of the table tennis halls, and feel free to tell what he sees, because no one understands this game better than him.”


István JÓNYER knew about the ceremony thrown for him, but the organizers still managed to create the surporise surprise: “When I came in and saw my teammates KLAMPÁR, Gergely, TAKÁCS and KREISZ, with whom we won a world championship, it was enough to make me become sensitive, even my palms started to sweat. Obviously, I thought there would some surprise, but I did not expect that much interest from the media nor the players, the association throw a fantastic party. ”


The Hungarian Table Tennis Association (MOATSZ) came up with a really special gift. With an official diploma certifying that from now on one of the stars in the sky above will bear the name of István Jónyer.


“István Jónyer is a star of international sports and a star of Hungarian table tennis thanks to his journey, achievements, work and, of course, the world and European championship golds” Roland Nátrán, president of MOATSZ, justified the gift. “This is why he received this diploma from the association, it is a symbol of all that. What he achieved back in the 1970s still moves the world of table tennis, even so many decades later, so I do not think the attribution ‘star’ is an exaggeration.”


Péter SÁRFALVI accepted the invitation to the party without any hesitation.


“For me, they were my childhood heroes, the success series of István JÓNYER and the golden team in the seventies and World Championship victory in 1979 was like my father’s the six-three in London for my father” asserted the deputy secretary of state for Sports Facilities and Relations. “We grew up watching them, and we had a lot of motivation from each of the five rash victories against China in Pyongyang. I even knew these legends personally through my then still active athlete dad. I recently got a DVD footage of this particular World championship final against China, which was amazing, I have often taken it out and watched ever since. I am just disappointed that no more could come to celebrate in the shadow of the epidemic, but we are still plenty here who celebrated uncle Pista. ”


István JÓNYER, like the whole golden team, means a lot to Zoltán BÁTORFI as well.


 “My father was my coach and I always heard him talking about Jónyer, Gergely, KLAMPÁR and the others” the head coach of the women’s national team recalled the beginning of his career. “Later I was one of the lucky players whose coach at the national team was Pista. I really liked him as a coach and I think he also liked me as a player, I hold on to some really great memories from this time of my life. And I even played together with Tibi, quite a few matches, which is no wonder in light of the fact that he is still active today. These matches have been a huge experience for me, and now, as I recall them, they are still one of the bests in my life.”


István JÓNYER, who claims to be extremely sweet-mouthed, was probably not surprised by his birthday cake, but it was a different case with the star named after him.


“It is interesting, I do not know whose idea it was. I still cannot comprehend, maybe I will be able to do that after a few days passed by…” looked the legend for the right words, whose perception of life does not change even after stepping into his seventies. “I swear on peace and calm, I will try to continue living that way. I always know what I will do the next day, so I set goals and try to achieve them, just as I did in table tennis. Zoli Berczik was my great teacher in this because he told me: ‘Son, what you can do today should not be postponed until tomorrow’.”

As part of the party, István Jónyer played a bit with his former teammates and then with the representatives of the younger age groups.

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