An interview with the golden Paralympian in swimming Arnošt Petráček not only about Paris


I will give everything to Paris this year, but I will definitely not miss the disabled youth winter games in my beloved Lipno.

Arnošte, before we get to the winter games, Christmas is over, we have entered the new year. How did you experience the end of the old one and what was it like?

I really like the end of the year. I spent it with my loved ones and if it weren't for the tragic events of December, I could say that it was beautiful again.

And if I have to look back, I consider him very successful. I have a great team around me, general partner YD Capital, but also a bronze medal from the World Championships in Manchester.

And what are you entering the new year with?

Quite clearly with the ambition of a Paralympic gold medal. I will give Paris everything this year. Thanks to what I mentioned in the previous answer, I have created ideal conditions. And the main thing is now only on me. Of course, that's on me in quotes. It will still be about my coach and team, but no one will be swimming for me. And, of course, this does not mean that I will close myself off and not communicate with those around me and stop engaging in other activities. But it will really only be to a limited extent.

We assume the Winter Games are one of them.

Yes, I won't miss the Winter Games for disabled youth in my beloved Lipno. On the one hand, I am their ambassador in the organizing team of the games, and most of all I really enjoy working with budding athletes.

We know you care a lot about youth. Tell us a little more about it.

In this I have to mention Emil again. He is dedicated to children and youth, and I have been working with him since 2016. Of course, it is not the only thing, but it is the most intensive with him.

Its biggest event is the Summer European Handicapped Youth Games Emil Open in Brno, where I go every year. They are always held in June and are attended by almost a thousand participants from up to 17 European countries. It is great that they receive motivation for sports from me as an ambassador.

So the inspiration for the winter games also arose in Brno?

Exactly. More and more of their participants started calling for a winter version of the Emil Open. And that's why, when the Emil team started looking for a region where they could organize them sometime in 2018, I brought them to my partner Skiareál Lipno, and that made the decision. Of course, there were more reasons why the choice fell on the South Bohemian Region - the proximity of the regional capital, the university environment, the friendliness of the political representation at the time, etc., but Lipno is Lipno.

This year will be the second year of the games. What awaits the athlete?

It will be different in several ways. On the one hand, thanks to the Visegrad fund program and this year's financial involvement of the South Bohemian Region and the city of České Budějovice and other partners, it can be held for a larger number of athletes.

Another novelty is the expansion of sports. Every year we would like to add a new one, and this year it will be para hockey.

But the involvement of a partner from Albania will also be a novelty. This year, as part of the development of the project, we also wanted to involve one of the supported countries. And when we learned that her athletes from the Special Olympics (the worldwide movement of athletes with intellectual disabilities) were going to participate in their 2025 World Games in Turin, we offered them a helping hand. They will be with us all week - the first part will be theoretical and the second on the slopes.

And for myself, I will add one more news that I am really looking forward to and it concerns the accompanying program. This year, the Emil Open will also be attended by a member of the board of directors of the Emil Foundation - moderator and actor Jan Kraus. And just like at the summer games, here too he will organize his benefit show Eye to Eye with Jan Kraus. And since I already know the guests, it's going to be a blast.

It sounds great. Arnošte, many readers probably haven't heard of the Winter Games. Tell us more about them.

The full name is the winter games for disabled youth V4 Winter Games Emil Open. This is not a registered race and they are not performance athletes. It is more of a sporting social gathering, where the target group is beginning athletes - children and youth with all types of disabilities aged 10 to 26.

We compete in paraalpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing. All this takes place in the Lipno Ski Area. Another sport is the already mentioned para-hockey, which will be held at the Pouzar Hockey Center in České Budějovice.

And since it is a Visegrad project, four countries are participating in it, plus the aforementioned Albania. The partners are the Polish and Hungarian Paralympic Committees, the Sports Club for the Disabled Pegas Remata for Slovakia and the organizer Emilova sports for the Czech Republic.

Well, their main goal is to bring young people with disabilities to sports and motivate them.

When are the games?

They take place from January 31 to February 4. Wednesday is the day of arrivals, the grand opening ceremony and other accompanying program. Thursday and Friday belong to sports, the whole of Saturday to the accompanying program and Sunday to departures.

Arnošte, tell us what awaits you in the coming weeks?

Regular trainings and training sessions await me, and from March to June I will be at preparatory races both in the Czech Republic and abroad.

And when can we look forward to your Paralympic race?

He is waiting for me in Paris on September 7 and I will swim my strongest discipline - backstroke.

We are putting the date on the calendar and we will of course keep our fingers crossed for you! Thanks for the interview.

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