His legendary chip which bears his name has been learned by top world footballers, for example Messi. “I am glad that my idea is still alive,” football legend Antonín Panenka said. Czech Fair Play Club awarded the main prize for his life-long attitude to him. “My main aim was to amuse the spectators, bring football to a higher level. I take this prize as a proof that probably I have succeeded,” he added.
Antonín Panenka won the heart of football fans with one single kick. His converted penalty in UEFA European Championship 1976 final in Belgrade sealed the historic title for Czechoslovakia. “The journalists from the west wrote that I humiliated the goalkeeper, but I do not agree with this. I knew that nobody had done anything like that before me. I wanted to kick the ball in the simplest possible way,” he remembers. “I went to kick the penalty feeling that we are going to win.”
Panenka wanted to register his chip as a patent, but it did not happen at the end. “My wife worked at a patent office at that time. I was asking about this possibility, but they told me that I would need to present something material,” he smiles. “It was not possible then and now it is too late.”
Panenka made his first league debut when he was twenty and played shone in Bohemians Praha till 1981 when he left for Rapid Vienna where he won two Austrian titles. He won 59 caps and scored 17 goals for Czechoslovakia; he also has a bronze medal from UEFA European Championship 1980 in Italy. In 1980 he was elected Footballer of the Year. He was one of the players of his era with the biggest respect to fair play.
Main prizes for good deeds
Cyclists Martina Kocháňová and Radim Vrba, coach of Slavia Praha young rowers Martina Součková and two mothers of young footballers Mirka Franková and Anna Stodolová were awarded the main prizes for good deeds.
At 8th kilometre of the Drásal Bikemarathon one of the racers fell off his bike really harshly. Many bikers passed by without noticing, only Martina Kocháňová and Radim Vrba stopped and took care of their injured opponent until the rescuers arrived. “When I stopped next to him, he was stuck in some kind of drain pipe and unconscious. He slowly regained consciousness, but was disoriented,” Vrba describes.
Former bronze medallist from U23 World Championships Martina Součková helped to save the lives of two people. The storm waters in the Prague sewer system splashed four geocaching players and Martina managed together with the crew of the steamboat that was passing by to pull two of them out of water and bring them to the shore. “A big storm started and, in the sewer drain where usually is only a small brook, there was a wild stream of water. Those two who survived, were very lucky,” she said. “It was not easy at all to take them out of the water.”
Two mothers Mirka Franková and Anna Stodolová saved the life of a small footballer who was hit by a flash of lightning. They started the life-saving procedures despite having their own children at the pitch. Without any hesitation they preferred to try to save the life of small Vojtěch. “I have never seen such a flash of lightning. At first, I thought that it hit our car, but then I saw that one of the children stayed lying on the ground,” Stodolová described. “We started heart massage and mouth-to-mouth breathing.”
Risking own life
The athletes who did not hesitate to help their opponents or correct referees'decisions or promoted the chastity of sport were also given awards in the premises of Czech National Bank where the award ceremony was held. Biathlete Michal Šlesingr received the diploma for a good deed. Together with the other top biathletes he tried to enforce adequate punishments for the doping offenses. It was also his merit that the international federation IBU approved stricter punishments for using illegal doping. “Thank you for this award, I am glad you have noticed that we have tried to achieve something at this matter,” Šlesingr said in a video message.
But the awards were given not only to the professional athletes, but also to those who are involved in sport in other roles. For example, it was veterinary technician Jaroslav Komárek. In one of the horse races accompanying Velká Pardubická steeplechase one of the jockeys fell of the saddle and his leg stayed got stuck in the stirrup. The horse dragged him for several hundred meters and was approaching a dangerous hurdle. If the horse jumped over it, it could be fatal for the jockey. Jaroslav Komárek did not hesitate and risking his own life he stepped into the track and caught the horse. Jockey Ján Mach was injured, but not seriously. “I had to jump over a hedgerow and run for a decent distance, I still do not know how I managed to that,” he remembers. “I was very lucky to grab the martingale at this speed. The horse was frightened and Ján Mach unconscious.”
Fair Play awards for schools
The orienteers Denisa Kosová, Miloš Nykodým, Vojtěch Král and Jana Knapová were awarded official thank-you letters. During their journey to European Championships to Switzerland they witnessed a serious car accident. They stopped at a burning car and tried to save the life of the driver who was stuck inside. Only a few tens of minutes after this terrifying experience they started their race in which they finished fourth only by a small margin.
Fair play awards for schools were awarded for twenty-third time. Jan Kříž from Grammar School Židlochovice received one of them for a good deed on his way to school - saving the life of a man who had epileptic seizure. Another award was given to Ondřej Zlý from Polytechnical Secondary School, Business Academy and Language School in Frýdek-Místek. He saw a message on the social network written by his schoolmate who was getting ready for a suicide. Ondřej contacted the schoolmate's family and the rescue system. Thank to this he managed to prevent a tragedy.
- Photo gallery of the event see here.