What a ride! Czech athletes at the European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF) won 14 medals, including three golds, in only six days. This is the biggest success of the Czech team in the 30-year history of the EYOF.
The very first day of the European Youth Olympic Festival ended with no Czech medals won, but with each passing day, an avalanche of success seemed to break out. The three golds were won by athletes Matyáš Zach (110-metre hurdles), Petr Meindlschmid (long jump) and tennis player Jan Kumstát.
Cyclist Jan Šumpík brought home a silver medal from the time trial, and the rest of the silvers were won by the athletic team: Natálie Fišerová (discus throw), Karolína Jarošová and Jan Škarban (both 2000m steeplechase) and Karolína Machová (shot put).
The bronze medallists were also numerous. Viktorie Jánská (long jump), Milan Vích (decathlon), Ester Parohová (100 metres), Zuzana Štejfová (hammer throw), Štěpán Šípek (javelin throw). On the last day, the boys' and girls' relays were very close to their bronzes as well – both teams finished in fourth place.
"I’m very excited about the performance of our athletes. In comparison with other countries, we had the most medallists in athletic disciplines. Now I really hope that our athletes from the EYOF will continue to be successful in adult categories," said Tomáš Purman, head of the Czech athletics team at the EYOF.
The bronze medal of the Czech volleyball players was proverbial icing on the cake. "The seven best teams from the previous European Championship qualified for the Youth Olympics. All of them were here, nobody refused to come," said volleyball coach Jan Svoboda when stressing the high quality level of the tournament.
"Since it is the most successful Czech team in terms of results in the history of the European Youth Olympic Festivals, and even including Olympic teams for that matter, I can only speak highly of the whole affair. And the same be said about the local stadiums, facilities and the overall atmosphere," said the head of the Czech team, Martin Doktor, while praising not only Czech athletes, but also Slovak organizers.
"The EYOF had been prepared in an excellent fashion. Compared to the previous editions, I rank this year's Games very high indeed. The atmosphere was great. For athletes who had not experienced a multisport event before, it was an opportunity to meet other competitors, talk with them about sports and other things. And since there were a lot of athletes at one single place, the whole vibe was just right," added Doktor.