Hungary’s first Paralympic medallist, Dr András Fejes passed away at the age of 74. The Para table tennis player was a clinical psychologist and a key figure in the Hungarian Paralympic Movement.
Fejes, a two-time world and five-time European champion, won the first Hungarian Paralympic medal in 1972 in Heidelberg, Germany, a bronze in 60m wheelchair competition.
IPC President Andrew Parsons expressed his condolences saying, “Dr András Fejes was a true friend of the Paralympic movement and a talisman for the Hungarian National Paralympic Committee. As a two-time world champion and five-time European champion in Para table tennis, he has certainly left his mark on the world of Para sport and a lasting moment in the NPC’s history having been their first Paralympic Games medal winner.
“Outside of the sporting world, his absence will also be keenly felt given his work to push our collective understanding of the psychological difficulties that persons with impairment face. His work and commitment to Para sport was a true testament to determination, passion and courage.”
At the age of 17, Fejes had an accident and during his rehabilitation in Austria, he became acquainted with Para sports and started to play competitively. Thanks to his results, he was already considered one of the best Para athletes of the world in the early 1970s.
Fejes played a key role in the foundation of the Olivér Halassy Sports Club for impaired athletes; the only association then where people with disabilities could play sports.
His professional activity mainly focused on identifying and reducing the complex psychological difficulties of people with disabilities and the challenge of their social integration.
In addition to his sport career, he was also involved in sports diplomacy and was a member of the Board of the International Federation of Persons with Physical Disability (FIMITIC) for 10 years.
Fejes has received several awards for his achievements in sports, scientific and public works. He was honoured with several distinctions in Hungary, including the Grand Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit, which is one of the highest Hungarian state awards, in 2018.