Slovakia + white paddles = Mistral

Yeah, they are recognizable by the white paddles. And of course they are also recognizable due to their success both on the domestic and the world stage. Their wealth of experience and medals is not the only thing that I have noted about them; they are, at the same time, a key part of their cherished families. And that is something that we know little about with these women. Not only achieving top honours in this difficult sport, they have achieved motherhood as well!

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Team Mistral with Team Teikei of Japan

Despite all these commitments they still find time to go skiing, alpine skiing, hiking and during summer, everything in and around water as well as biking, skating, running…

This “Super M(istral)om Team ” is coming to the WRC 13 competition to represent Slovakia in the Open Women’s category. This honour goes to: Julia Pavelkova, Hana Švarcová, Eva Rašek- Hochschornerová, Zuzana Čunderlíková, Veronika Kvetáková, Monika Beňušová, Andrea Balážová. Coach until 2007 was Stefan Lukacovic and after that Radoslav Orokocky and Milan Petrovic.

They are in many ways related to water sports from childhood. Julia Pavelkova will introduce us to the rafting history of the club, its successes and answer some of our questions.


– “The first time our team competed was at Euro Champs 1998 in Prague and we took part at the WRC 2003 in Lipno. Ten years later we are starting the WRC with the same persons as we did in 2003 except for one member. New to the WRC will be Andrea Balažová. Our team has more medals from Euro Champs than World Champs. The most successful were Euro Champs in Austria Wildalpen in 2008, where our team won 10 medals and WRC Netherlands 2010, where we won head to head and slalom. Our team just missed WRC Costa Rica two years ago because of pregnancies.”-

For men it is easier to have a child and to stay in sport, there’s no break … How is it for moms in rafting? How do you manage to synchronize your obligations? Are the dads understanding? :)

– “We have, all together, 10 children and they are quite young- age 2 is the youngest. It is very difficult but we have good and helpful family members, dads and grandparents. More difficult is to find the big amount of 2 weeks off from work. All the children are staying home so we will be a bit sad. We would like to do the best during the competition so we have decided to leave them at home.”- 

Have anyone of you been to New Zealand before? -“No and therefore this country is for us very interesting and interesting.” – 

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Will you be able to stay after competitions? – “Everyone in the crew has children and jobs to get back to. We will stay in NZ only 5 days after the race.”-

It is not easy to balance motherhood and such obligations, but hats off to these women for doing it! A real inspiration to other women.

What does your team do to prepare for this competition and on which rivers are your training?

– “We are practicing on the domestic artificial course in Cunovo – Bratislava and flat water on the river Danube and in the summer we like paddling on the Salza river in Wildalpen- Austria. That is the most beautiful natural river for our team. Slovakia has few natural rivers. In winter our team is running, skiing and swimming and in summer we paddle on the raft. Throughout the year we also go to the gym. In rafting you have to be fast, strong and durable, and this is the hardest and most beautiful in the sport of rafting :-)” –

Is there a discipline that your team likes? – “Our team likes slalom and hates the fight in head to head” –

Do you have any expectations related to the results …. and what are your expectations generally?

-“The only expectation is to come home with good results and a good feeling to the finish line and without any injuries after the waterfall. :D” – Hehehe … “Tutea Falls” – 7m high waterfall that everyone is so waiting to try! 

Do you have sponsors you want to thank?

“Our grateful thanks to all our sponsors, persons who support us and the company Husky – outdoor equipment, 3Fvision – sport company, Soitron – IT technology, Sun sport  – water equipment, Imunoglukan

Slovakia will again have excellent representatives at the WRC. These amazing women will do their best and we wish them good strokes and a good time in New Zealand.


Article by Nada