Back from Porto: Interview with Achim Braungart-Zink
17 Sep 2012 at 19:53 | Published by: Hans | Views: 7771 | News search
Achim Braungart-Zink and coach Matthias Reiche celebrates an ace (Photo by Hans Bergström 2012)
Interview with Achim Braungart-Zink (ABZ), Germany and SG Arheilgen
This interview was done the 17th of September 2012. Interviewer is Hans Bergström (HB).
HB: First of all a big congratulation to your phenomenal results in Porto. Have these successes sunk in yet and you are back in normal life?
ABZ: Thank you! – No, it did not sunk in yet, because I had to come back to normal life too quick. After the EC in Porto there was much work to do and the German Bundesliga was also near. So I had no time to relax and to think back about these moments. I think that this will come after the last match of Bundesliga in October.
HB: Can you tell our readers a little bit on who is Achim Braungart-Zink?
ABZ: I’m 30 years old, play for SG Arheilgen in the German Bundesliga and I’m a member of the German national team since 2004 now (except EC 2008 in Tampere). I began playing minigolf in 1992 and joined a club at first in 1996. Up to December 2011 I worked for a German health insurance company in sales and marketing. Since January I work for Minigolf Marketing GmbH with functions in marketing and public relations.
HB: Let’s start with German Team gold. You were too strong for the other teams in the windy second day, even despite an injury break for key player Walter. Can you tell us about how the team experiences were this time?
ABZ: We have a great team, that is essentially the same for some years. We belong together as one team, every new young player is integrated in the team as if he/she belongs to it for a long time. We work for the same targets, and so we speak the same internal language. Because of that we always have a great atmosphere, that makes us strong and motivated every year. So we could manage the injury of Walter without any problems, although is a real pity for Walter. But as a team player he is, he supported the team in the following in the best possible way.
HB: And for yourself you started in a furious pace leading with 8 strokes and setting world record on concrete already the first day (22-22). How did you manage to keep up this level throughout the whole tournament?
ABZ: I just focused on the team competition in the first two days, and so I saw every shot as a shot for the team. I managed to forget my personal result and standing within every round at every stroke and just focused on every single shot. It was great to feel the support during these rounds. After the team competition it was different. I thought about winning the strokeplay title for the first time. Because of the great results of the first days, I was so confident and strong, that it was no problem to keep the good level.
HB: Now you have all the concrete world records from 2 till 6 laps. Were you aware about your world records during the competition?
ABZ: At first I was not, but after the first day with 22, 22 on concrete some people told me, that I have played a new world record. But as it was close in the team competition after the first day, I just played for my team at first. After the 3rd day I just got to know, that there were more world records, which I had played.
HB: Even if Reto played well he never came that much closer. How did it feel to be the chased one in the final strokeplay day?
ABZ: Of course it felt great to be in this comfortable situation. Reto is a great sportsman and played a really good tournament. I enjoyed playing with him and felt the respect that we both have for each other.
HB: And also in the matchplay you played very well. Did you ever think of the chance of being historical and be the first to take 3 gold medals in the same Championships?
ABZ: Yes, I did. Walter told me about this chance after the stroke play competition. But I had no thoughts about it during the match play competition, I just thought about the next match.
HB: You lost in the semifinal towards Herbert Ziegler but won the bronze match against Jonas Gustafsson. Are you satisfied or disappointed about this bronze?
ABZ: I am really satisfied with the bronze medal. In the past years the best in stroke play often was out in the first rounds. Although it was a new situation, because I had one gold (because of the two separate titles), I was motivated not to quit that quick. For this reason I did not celebrate the stroke play result, got to bed early and tried to prepare for the next day as for every other day during the competition. But of course it was different. I felt the tension fell off a bit. Because of that I’m a bit proud to manage this situation with a bronze medal.
HB: Have you ever played better Minigolf then in Porto?
ABZ: Hmmm…I don’t know. On concrete, I think it was nearly 100% and I never played better minigolf related to the shots I had done. But on miniaturegolf there were times, where it felt a little bit better, for example in Predazzo 2010.
HB: Do you think that the current modus with team play, strokeplay and matchplay in the international tournaments is a good one?
ABZ: I like it very much. I missed the stroke play title in the past years. We have great long distance stroke play players in minigolf and it is the essential thing that the player who needs least strokes of all is the best one. Everyone knows this rule; media, spectators, and so on.
But the match play is a modern system with many advantages: You will never see that much emotions, because of big surprises: I remember the match of Marco Templin and Rudi Giroldini 2007, the match of Allan Schwab and Carl-Johan Ryner 2009 and, of course, the match between Herbert Ziegler and Paolo Porta this year. These emotions of the surprising winners are also good for public relations and show the world a different type of minigolf that we also need from my point of view.
HB: Apart from being a very good player you are also engaged in the DMV Media and marketing work and was even doing some photographing and reporting while playing in Porto. How can you manage to do all this tasks at the same time?
ABZ: Because I have fun doing all these things, it is no problem, because it distracts me a bit from the stress during the tournament. But it is not completely true, that it is me doing everything. In Porto for example, my girlfriend Claudia did the photo work while watching the competition as a fan. The reports on our DMV-homepage or the reporting in Facebook was done by Heiner Sprengkamp who supports the media work since two years. I only edited the photos and put them on Facebook with the correct picture titles. This allocation of tasks is prepared before such a tournament.
HB: Last year in Stockholm you ended in 13th position after having played well on beton but quite bad on eternit. Also you lost your first match in the match play. Was Stockholm a big disappointment for you?
ABZ: Yes, it was a disappointment, but not at first because of my individual performance, but because of the team performance in the team competition. As every year we had the target to reach the gold medal. Nothing against getting the silver medal, because another team is better, but the disappointment was, that we could never get close to the results that we played during the practice.
HB: This weekend the German Bundesliga season 12-13 starts again. Any outlooks on what will happen and who will win?
ABZ: Hardenberg is the favorite again. With Marco Henning we got a new strong player and are stronger than ever before. If everyone can reach his top level, we have a good chance to play for the title, too. It all depends on our start, because we overslept it in the past years an always ran behind a big gap of points.
HB: What happens next for you in Minigolf?
ABZ: We have two matches of Bundesliga left this year, after that I try to get down a bit and in winter I start preparing the new minigolf year. We have two international tournaments in Germany in 2013 and 2014. It is my dream to participate in both of them.
HB: Will we see you in the next year’s Championship in Bad Munder?
ABZ: It is my target to participate in this competition and I will give my best during the season. However it is the decision of the national coach Michael Koziol.
HB: And if you are there do you think you will this time win against the Swedes on felt-eternit?
ABZ: Although it will be hard work, I would not be a real sportsman, if I would think that we cannot win!
HB: If you could choose one international (non-German) player to play for you club SG Arheilgen who would that be?
ABZ: Michel Rhyn
HB: Thank you for taking this interview and good luck in the future!
ABZ: Thank you, too!