Illustrative photo – European Sports Games, June 23, 2019 in Minsk. Shooter David Kostelecký won the gold medal in the trap.
Krakow – The third edition of the European Games will begin in Krakow and other Polish cities on Wednesday. After Baku 2015 and Minsk 2019, this multi-sport event will take place near the Czech Republic this time. Thanks to this, a record-breaking expedition will go there, there are 248 Czech athletes in the nomination. Medals will be fought for twelve days in twenty-nine sports, Czech colors will not be seen only in beach handball and breaking.
Eight years ago the Czechs brought home seven medals, four years ago they won thirteen. Before the current year of the European Games, the head of the expedition, Martin Doktor, was cautious in his estimates. He saw hope, for example, in speed canoeing and water slalom, shooting, modern pentathlon or mountain bikes and freestyle BMX.
For the first time, elite athletes will be at the European Games. All three divisions of the European Team Championship will take place in Chorzów. The Czech team will fight to stay in the highest one, it is currently missing the best Czech athlete Jakub Vadlejch. Although the team competition will be the main one, medals will also be distributed in individual disciplines. The order across the divisions will be evaluated there.
Twelve sports will have European Championships as part of the European Games. Canoeing has a special championship, where only 200 and 500 meters will be raced. The one-kilometer track does not fit into the area here.
The European Games are part of the qualification for the Olympic Games in Paris in ten sports. The most seats are available in the box, in which 22 male and the same number of female quotas are distributed. The planned qualification in fencing has changed. Due to the non-participation of Russian and Belarusian athletes, only teams, not individuals, will compete for points in the Olympic ranking.
One place in each discipline will be available to shooters. They will fight for them in Wrocław, which is several hours away from the center of the Games. They can thus experience the situation that will await them next year at the Olympics in Paris. The Tokyo heroes of the Olympic trap competition, Jiří Lipták and David Kostelecky, don't mind.
“I don't care at all. Of course, it's nice when you meet people from other sports and have fun with them. She was great at the European Games last time the atmosphere in the team, we cheered for each other. But we are professionals, we go to those races. For me, it will be a standard race like the Grand Prix or the World Cup. It is important that we hit something there,” said Kostelecký, who will be at defend the gold from Minsk at the European Games.
In addition to the Olympic sports, the European Games will also feature less traditional sports, such as beach handball and football, kickboxing, muaythai, padel or teqball. An interesting feature is the summer ski jumps, which will take place on the bridge in Zakopane. The Poles want to take advantage of the popularity of this sport there. The European Games will end on July 2.