Ferenc Soma Kovács: Interview about the first months spent in Harvard

For Ferenc Soma Kovács, 2023 has been quite an active year, as last summer he was a member of the hungarian team participating in the European Games in Krakow, Poland, and returned home from Israel with a bronze medal at the European Junior Athletics Championships in Jerusalem.

This was followed by the young athlete's first adult world competition, the World Athletics Championships held in Budapest, where he achieved his best individual time in the 5000 meters in front of his home crowd with a time of 14:11:99.

Shortly after the World Championships in Budapest, another significant event awaited Soma, as he was able to start his studies at Harvard University in Boston, USA, from September.

We also talked with the young athlete about the closing of 2023, the holidays spent in Hungary, the goals for 2024 and his start-up podcast.

"It's true that I've had a busy year as far as 2023 is concerned. My coaches and I tried to design the end of the old year professionally in a way that would help my development in the long run, so we started at the European Cross-Country Championships held in Brussels." – Soma recalled the events of that time. The U20 men's team finished 12th at the European Championships, with Soma, Gábor Karsai, Róbert Árvai and Ármin Lestak making up the Hungarian team.

In addition to the test, Soma also had to concentrate on the exams of his first semester at Harvard, applying for a special exemption - and receiving it at his former high school, he completed his midterm exams with the participation of a supervising teacher.

"I arrived in Boston in September 2023 and in terms of sports, we've done a lot of work for the first two months. I competed in regional and national university championship competitions, and I also had to perform well in studying. Luckily, I was able to travel home to Hungary for the Christmas holidays, thanks to my coach I had a two-week active rest, so I managed to recover both physically and mentally."

As for goals for 2024, Soma said that participation in the two U.S. finals has been set for him. The top 16 will qualify for the right to compete, and the venue will be Boston, so the home advantage will also "play" for Soma, so to speak.

Soma kicked off the 2024 race with a win as he finished first in the 1,000m at the John Thomas Terrier Classic at Boston University on January 26 with a time of 2:21:38.

In addition to learning and sports, the young athlete also launched a podcast in Hungarian together with two Hungarian friends. The focus is on sport, more precisely athletics, which, according to Soma, is less popular in Hungary, there is a high drop-out rate, so through their conversations they would like to bring the sport closer to those interested. In addition to sporting topics, young people also touch on public life during their discussions, the target group has been designated around 14-24 year olds, but they hope that representatives of the older age group will also show interest in their topics.

"This is our passion! In addition to learning and sports, we can reach our full potential in this podcast. We would like to convey useful professional content to students with our topics and guests."