Here you can find out more from another team preparing for the much awaited competition at Lipno, and now we will be able to watch all the teams live!!!
I caught up with Hazard team to find out inside information on their experience of the location and their aspirations for the competition.
The BVS raft team (Hazard) are heading to the European championships representing Slovakia in both the R4 and R6 categories. 5 out of the 6 team members competed at Lipno during the 2003 World championships where they secured themselves a bronze medal in Slalom. Since 2003 this team have gained a great deal of valuable competition experiences at local, European and world competitions.
The 2003 World Championship slalom course was demanding, what do you expect for the 2012 European Championships?
“We expect that the slalom course to be quite challenging and we like it that way. Having that said we do not like when slalom courses have a tricky part that depends mostly on how lucky you get. We’ve seen such a courses at WRCs in Costa Rica or in Netherlands for example. Czechs are famous for their demanding but fair slalom races and we believe they will do a great job again.”
You have a great deal of experience on the Devil stream river. What piece of advice would you give teams that are coming to Lipno for the first time?
“Save some strength for the wild water after the flat water lake or you will end up losing much more time fighting on rocks than you can gain paddling on flat water. And of course make sure you stay safe, Lipno is a very technical and challenging river.”
The majority of male teams entered in the 2012 European Championship have been competition together for the last few years but not many will have experience at Lipno. Who do you see as the greatest opponents to your team?
“On the contrary, I do think that most major competitors know Lipno from previous years. German, Italian, Slovenian and of course Czech teams have been racing on Lipno. If you look at results from major competitions in the last few years you can see that the differences in top 5-8 male teams in the world are very small. Basically it so tight that any of them with a bit of luck can win.”
How do you prepare and train for international competitions?
“In winter we train in the gym. In the summer we add whitewater training two times a week in Cunovo on artificial course and some paddling on flat water. 1-2 months before big competitions we are peaking with our training intensity at around 5 times a week.”
“It looks like nothing compared to professional teams, but having to synchronize schedule for 6 different people when most of them are employed full-time is actually a pretty big deal.”
This is a common problem to overcome for many teams, as funding is very rare. The Hazard team have managed to commit to 10 years of raft racing which I am sure has been a challenge but very worth it.
You have one new team member from Tatran. Did you make this change now so you have a consistent team aiming for the 2013 New Zealand World championships?
“Since 2003 we haven’t changed a single team member. One team member (Jozef Szadvari) decided that he wants to take a break from rafting. We’ve found a new member (Marek Dinka) from Tatran. He was already rafting before and we have paddled together for this season. So far we are surprised how fast he adapted to our paddling style and technique. He is the left middle so the switch was expected to be a relatively easy one when compared to a switch in front or back places. We still have one year to train for WRC in New Zealand and thus plenty of time that should be sufficient to get Marek to a really skilled team member.”
You will have gained many experiences in rafting over the last 10 years. What has been the best thing and is there anything you would still like to experience?
“We always wanted to travel to exciting countries and paddle on new rivers. In the past years this has become possible with our rafting career. In the end having a great time to remember with your friends trumps every medal, right? “
Will you also take part in the World Cup in Czech?
“We are competing at Trnavka each year and I would recommend this event for everyone. It’s a very technical, long and very fast artificial course, something that you can’t find easily. Oh, and the parties there are legendary!”
He is certainly right about the Czech parties!! We are all looking forward to the social events at the European Championships. Thanks to Jan Suchal from the hazard team and good luck at the European Championships. And don’t forget to watch all the action live via the Internet.
Article by Nada.