A young boy who quickly rose from a newcomer of Teqball to a bronze medallist at his debuting world championships, who had a long unbeaten streak with ten events and was crowned in Nuremberg four years later where he won his first title in men’s single. Although Apor Gyorgydeak is not a person of words, he has plenty to share.
Behind every teqer is a story, a life to be shared. Everyday people with no ordinary skills. This is them, our teqers, our heroes.
“I was a footballholic person from the beginning of my life. Since I started to walk there was a ball around me. At the age of five, my mom took me to the first practice and the next fourteen years were all about that sport.” – starts Apor Gyorgydeak quickly his story of how he turned into a world champion and one of the best teqers.
As anybody else, he had his own idol, Kaká but he not only followed him on TV, but on the pitch as well.
“I was a central attacking midfielder and I enjoyed it a lot. Many different academies approached also from abroad, but I stayed as the senior squad from the domestic third league asked me to join at the age of sixteen. I have spent there three seasons when Szabolcs invited me to try Teqball.”
Szabolcs Ilyes is the club owner of GOBEK Teqball Team who discovered the gift Gyorgydeak carries to be among the best teqers. He also created one of the first professional Teqball clubs in the World.
“They had to wait at least a month until I showed up because I always came up with something like my girlfriend does not let me. Luckily, Szabolcs was stubborn and after a while, I met personally this amazing sport, Teqball. Since then, no girlfriend has a say on my goals in my career.” – adds the title holder while laughing at his own excuses. “It was love at first sight and also it helped a lot that after having seen my skillset and touches, they had the feeling that we should work together.”
Although triumphs usually do not come easily at the beginning of something new, this case was different for the Romanian athlete.
“We had a training camp in the summer of 2019 in Poland and at the end of it, we organised a small competition among us. The already world champion Adam Blazsovics and world champion bronze medallist Adrian Duszak whom I beat there in the group stage both attended. In spite of the loss in the final against Blazso – the nickname of the four-time world champion Blazsovics – I felt great about the early success. I also finished second in men’s doubles and mixing these results with the fact that sport requires a lot of traveling which was one of my dreams in my childhood, I knew that my place is here, with Teqball.”
Before his first world championships, he had four practices a day. Three football and one Teqball. However, the effort paid off as he met with his childhood heroes such as Ronaldinho or Gallas and finished third in men’s singles.
“I have cast my vote to Teqball after Gliwice. My motivation went through the roof, I wanted to become the best thus I turned down my last offer of football and Teqball became my life.”
His decision quickly paid off as he won his first two competitions. Firstly the Eger Beach Challenger Cup 2020, then the Romanian Challenger Series – Round 1. Gyorgydeak was one of the few who took the COVID-19 pandemic as an advantage to catch up and train as much as possible. This hard work was highlighted in 2021 as he won 11 out of 14 tournaments. However, the most important one, the world championships did not go as expected and finished fourth.
“It was horrible, I wanted to triumph so badly, and even in the bronze game, I lost. However, this result did not break me, I knew that I had to put more energy into my preparation and the first position in the world ranking does not guarantee anything. Then, 2022 was my year.”
Four singles events were organised in the previous year and three of them were taken by the Romanian teqer. As the last challenge of 2022, he yet again tried to get the trophy of the world championships, and this time he succeeded without any lost set.
“As a title-holder, I have a target on my back, but this only motivates me even more. I want to take over Blazso in the number of WCh-titles.”
Teqball evolves just as fast as Gyorgydeak does and the usually quiet athlete already experienced the changes.
“Teqball is a huge thing in my home town, in Odorheiu Secuiesc or Szekelyudvarhely as we call it. The people are mostly aware of our sport anywhere in the world but I was really surprised when the border guard in the U.S. knew what Teqball is. But in other countries like France or Poland, people come and ask for signatures. On the other hand, as Teqball leveled up, our preparation became tougher than what I was used to in football. Both mentally and physically. Professionalism means in our club that we work together with six different experts in every field that boosts us.”
Even as a world champion Gyorgydeak understands there is still space to improve
“My header is far from perfect and both the attacking and defending skills can be perfected. I think that my basics as a quick, agile player are good, although I would be happier if I was a little bit taller. It would definitely help me with smashes and serves.”
To reach the Olympic Games is not only one of the FITEQ’s goals but every teqers’.
“At the beginning the OGs were not among my dreams, however as Teqball evolved quickly as well my success came along, sometimes I picture it competing at the Olympics, and winning would be the biggest triumph and happiness ever in my life. Until then, the European Games in Krakow which will also be the very first European championships gives me goosebumps. This tournament is the European Olympics, so a part of my dream is going to happen.”
More and more sponsors reach out to FITEQ as well as to teqers and clubs. The busiest calendar ever helps the sport to spread and bring more new people in, however, it is also very beneficial to the athletes.
“We plan to compete at least at one event each month. Although my world champion title opened many doors, this season’s schedule also boosts our chances as Teqball is broadcasted worldwide on Eurosport and ESPN. Me, personally was very proud when I got to know that the Romanian DIGI Sport TV channel broadcasted live the world championships in Nuremberg. So, it is clear as we experience it that the success on court means more opportunities.”
To think about the future after their career became natural even to young athletes such as Gyorgydeák. At the age of 23, he already knows what comes next.
“I really want to be a Teqball coach after my retirement. Although my plan is to compete for at least another 10-12 years, I enjoy a lot when I teach something new or help to perfect my teammates’ skills. They always come to me for new attacks or serves. I still net learnt to stay calm and patient.”
Success does not come usually from anything. Generally, stable background, a great team around the person, and luck are necessary for triumph. It was and still is not different for the world champion of 2022.
“My mom automatically supported my decision when I changed sport, however since then, my father also admitted that this adjustment was well-thought and my whole family cheers for me during every event. At GOBEK we work with six different experts to reach our peak and be the best. Although I love my parents I thought they bring bad luck for a while as when they showed up at two events even if I had a great streak, I never won. Everything changed in Germany because they did travel there, but in incognito and I did not know anything. I only saw them when I won and stepped onto the table, even my cousins were there. At that moment, Teqball and my life grow into one.”