Slovaks excel at European Fitness Championships

09-06-2006

Insight Central Europe has had a number of reports of Slovak athletes excelling in sports such as ice hockey, tennis, swimming, slalom canoeing, shooting and weight lifting. But Slovaks have just been successful in a rather less well known sport: - the sport of fitness. Radio Slovakia International's Anca Dragu reports.

Slovakia took three gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals at the Fitness European Championships held in Italy. Marian Bezak a coach with the team says this is a very good result for the athletes.

"They had to compete against very powerful athletes from all around Europe. There were 122 competitors and we are happy that everybody in our team managed to qualify for finals, and the three of them who ended up with the gold medals really had to fight hard to get them. Lenka Chalupkova was the European Champion en-titre at her category so she had a title to defend here. She did it."

One of the gold medallists, Sona Kopcokova from Surany, who won the category for women taller 168 cm said she had been very superstitious before the competition.

"This has been my first European Championships and when I saw that there were such strong competitors there, I almost lost confidence. I had a similar experience at the World Championships when I was quite sure I wouldn't make it to the final but I ended up on the fourth place. So I thought it was worth coming to the European Championships and trying to get a medal. It worked out perfectly and I won the gold."

Miroslava Dolnikova is another happy woman, this time with a silver medal.

"I remember only hearing some people shouting: Slovakia, Slovakia and then calling my name. It was my debut on such big international competitions and I was so happy to be on the podium with a medal hanging around my neck. Its colour doesn't matter."

It is maybe worth mentioning that out of six medals only one, a bronze, was won by a man.

09-06-2006