Place of Birth: Budapest, Hungary
University: Budapest University of Technology and Economics (HUN)
Sport: Orienteering Published 5 March 2021
How and why did you get involved in Orienteering?
Both of my parents are orienteering runners so when we my two brothers and I were 4-5 years old we went to races with them. There was always a short race for young children where we could compete at that time. Orienteering running is a lifestyle and it just became part of my life so when I was 14, I gave up my modern pentathlon career and since then I’ve concentrated on orienteering running and long distance running.
What do you study, and how do you balance your study, training and competition?
I’m a Master of Mathematics student, but last year I was pursuing my Master of Engineering degree in the USA in Portland, Oregon. I was part of the cross country and track and field team of the university where I saw how much support student athletes get there. It’s a lot harder at home where sport and university are two totally separated things, but we get more and more help and support from the university. I also started an internship in April so it needs a lot of organisation and communication with teachers and, of course, compromises.
Tell us about your experiences at previous EUSA events, or if EUG2021 is your first EUSA competition, tell us how you got involved in it?
EUOC (European Universities Orienteering Championship) in 2019 was my first ever EUSA event. Before that race I hadn’t done any orienteering running in a year because I had been in the USA. It was amazing to experience again the atmosphere of an international competition and also a positive feedback that even though I wasn’t well prepared for it, I was among the best runners.
What are you looking forward to most in Belgrade, and what are your aspirations?
My last one-and-a-half years have been pretty tough running wise. I had an ankle injury which is still not perfect and other health problems which did not allow me to train constantly. I hope I’ll be on a high level again for the summer. If I’ll be able to keep up with the best girls in Belgrade, I’ll be happy. One of the best things in international races is meeting old friends and getting to know athletes who are similarly crazy about running and nature as we are.
“One of the best things in international races is meeting old friends and getting to know athletes who are similarly crazy about running and nature as we are.”
Why do you think taking part in university sport is important?
To be a university student can cause a lot of anxiety and stress. It’s really important to get rid of them before getting depressed. Also being part of a community is so important and sport forms the best friendships. If you are involved in university sport, you already did a lot to your mental and physical health.
What is your most memorable university sport moment?
One of them was at the World Universities Orienteering Championship in 2018 where I won the sprint distance. Nobody expected me to win and in the finish I had to wait at least half an hour for the other runners to finish their races. It was really stressful. When it turned out I won I couldn’t believe it. I’ve never imagined I would be able for a result like this. Overtaking yourself is one of the best feelings in sport. The other one was at the EUOC last year. I ran the sprint relay with one of my oldest friends, we’ve known each other since he was born and we basically grew up together, our parents were really good friends. It was such an amazing feeling to compete with him and to be happy with him for our bronze medal.
What is your message to European student-athletes like yourself?
Student athlete’s life can be hard sometimes and a lot of times we have to reduce our social life and free time. But sport and racing give so much that we wouldn’t have without it, amazing friendships, success, getting to know new places, new cultures. When it gets hard, think of the crazy moments, the friends and the places you had experienced through sport!
EUSA wishes Virag all the best with her preparations and we hope to see her very soon at the 2021 European Universities Games in Belgrade, Serbia!