Episode 4: The Czech delegation at the European Championships
Skaters from the city of a thousand towers and thousand bells
The skater from the Czech Republic
The selection of skaters was made during the races all year long, through competitions such as Gross-Gerau (Germany) or The Three Tracks (France), and of course during the national championships. We asked to the coach why there was no female skaters in the selection, he says that "the girls of 12 or 13 years old who are skating are numerous, but they stop early." He adds he still has hope for the future. However, the second coach of the selection is... a woman! The female coaches are so few on the track! At least, the Czech Republic is an example in this case!
Czech athletes and their goals
The three skaters and their two coaches are all coming from Prague, capital city and former capital of the Kingdom of Bohemia, the Holy Roman Empire and more recently from Czechoslovakia. For these three boys, the objectives were clear: the sprinter Matej Pravda (Junior) had to access the final rounds, and the mission was accomplished. He finished at the 10th place in the 300m on the track. He also finished ninth in the 200m on the road in Zwolle. As Matej Krupka and Onderj Suchy (Seniors), the objective was to access to the Top 15 on long distance races: Matej ranked 14th in the 10 km points on the road. Onderj is not far from his goal. He took the 16th place at the end of his last race.
The means of the Federation Czech
It is true that the Czech Republic and the Netherlands are countries where the poverty rate is the lowest in Europe. But the Czech federation of roller-skating is not one of the richest in Europe. Indeed, the Czech Federation has limited financial resources and is little structured, which largely explains the smallness of the national delegation. Concerning the management of skaters, the federation only paid the registration to the European Championships. The federation also lent a few clothers to the skaters.
The national team has no sponsors either. It is not easy to develop roller-skating under these conditions.
"Here, the challenge is to train trainers and educators to train younger skaters. Czech coaches are "self-made men," they only try to train skatekers and transmit their knowledge. They read books, they learn the methods from other coaches met during international competitions. There are only six clubs in the country. It's just too little to hope to expand the pool of skaters." Said one of two coaches.
In terms of equipment, the country has two tracks of 166 meters and three to four road circuits.
To provide a good preparation for the European Championships, the athletes gathered in their country for a week shortly before the beginning of the competition. The three skaters were eager to compete with other European skaters. They may be the best Czech, they are aware that their level is far from Belgian, Dutch, Italian or even French skaters! They find their motivation in comparison and confrontation with the other athletes.
And What about Korea and World Championships? Unfortunately, the moving cost is way too high. Therefore, The world championships will take place without our Czech friends this year. "When the world championships will take place in Europe, we will make every effort to participate" the coach tells us. This is great, Sir, because even if the skaters will not participate in the Olympic dream in London, the next World Championship will happen in Italy!
Too bad there is not 1000 laps races in European Championships: the people of Prague would surely have been inspired to honor their thousand bells ...
Unknown delegations in European Championships 2011: Portugal and UK
Unknown delegations in European Championships 2011: Sweden
Unknown delegations in European Championships 2011: Czech Republic
Unknown delegations in European Championships 2011: Danemark
Unknown delegations in European Championships 2011: Slovenia
Unknown delegations in European Championships 2011: Hungary
Translated by Alexandre Chartier
Photos: Daniel Busser