March 17, 1983 |
|Coached by||Viktor Vécsi|
Attila Vajda (born 17 March 1983) is a Hungarian sprint canoeist who has competed since the early 2000s. Competing in three Summer Olympics (04, 08, 12) he has won two medals in the C-1 1000 m event with a gold in 2008 and a bronze in 2004.
Vajda was a European junior champion in 2000, winning the Canadian canoe C-2 1000 m title with Démász-Szeged team-mate Márton Joób in Boulogne, France. In 2002 the pair came second at the European under-23 championships in Zagreb, Croatia in the same event.
Hungarian coach Zoltán Angyal was confident of Vajda's ability but took the decision not to give him his senior international debut in 2002 or 2003. In 2004, Angyal was still keeping his cards close to his chest. The Hungarian team did not take part in the early season international regattas: at the European Championships Hungary was represented in the C-1 races by Márton Joób and Sándor Malomsoki. Angyal then shocked his rival coaches by selecting Vajda as his "secret weapon" for the 2004 Summer Olympics in the C-1 1000 m event.
In his initial heat with a time of 3:57.290, Vajda qualified for the semifinals. There, he placed second, this time at 3:52.236, advancing to the final round. Vajda won a bronze in the event behind Spain's David Cal and Germany's Andreas Dittmer, but beat out 1996 Olympic champion Martin Doktor with a time of 3:49.025.
Hungary is one of the few countries in the world where sprint canoeists have the status of stars known to the general public and Vajda suddenly found himself the new "golden boy" of Hungarian canoeing. His performances in 2005 suffered as a result of these distractions; he started the season overweight and failed to make the podium in any major international race.
In 2006 he won the national title over all three distances and, in May, beat a top-class international field at Duisburg. Injury prevented him from appearing at the European championships, but he was determined not to miss the 2006 World Championships, held in his hometown of Szeged. He recovered in time to take the C-1 1000 m bronze medal behind surprise winner Everardo Cristóbal of Mexico and Germany's Andreas Dittmer. Vadja won the gold medal in the same event at the following world championships in Duisburg.
At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Vajda wore a black armband in dedication to his fallen teammate György Kolonics and dedicated his C-1 1000 m gold in Kolonics' honor. He would win the Hungarian Sportsman of The Year for his Beijing win.
Awards and honours
Orders and special awards
- Cross of Merit of the Republic of Hungary – Gold Cross (2004)
- Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary – Officer's Cross (2008)
- Official website
- Canoe09.ca profile
- ICF medalists for Olympic and World Championships – Part 1: flatwater (now sprint): 1936–2007.
- ICF medalists for Olympic and World Championships – Part 2: rest of flatwater (now sprint) and remaining canoeing disciplines: 1936–2007.
- Sports-reference.com profile
|Hungarian Sportsman of The Year