New Women’s European R4 Champions – Mistral, Slovakia

Winning Gold at 2014 R4 Euro Champs

We are all already familiar with this team who have been at the top of the rafting honours for over 10 years now and have just swept up the title of R4 Euro Champions in the Open Women’s category. We’re talking about the well-known team – Mistral Bratislava of Slovakia. We’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate them on their latest success.

We wrote about them before they headed off to compete at the 2013 WRC in NZ where they just missed first place by a mere 7 points.

Competing in New Zealand

This time, team Mistral competed with the following composition: Hana Svarcova,Veronika Kvetakova,Zuzana Cunderlikova, Monika Benusova and ​Julia Pavelkova​.

Julia Pavelkova talks to us about the WRC 2013 in New Zealand and R4 Euro Champs at home in Slovakia.

– We have not had a chance to talk to you after your success in New Zealand. I know that you invested a lot into it and you won two golds, one bronze and a silver medal for overall. Tell us your impressions about everything. :)

More medals

“The country was very interesting with good accommodation and meals :-) We had some bad luck in the H2H as the semi-final teams were paired incorrectly and the Judges did not notice. If it had been done correctly and we had won it may have meant a Gold medal overall. We were also unhappy that the women did the Downriver in intervals but the men did it in groups of 4. We felt this also affected what could have happened.”

– You did Slovakia proud at the last R4 Euro Champs and ensured your national anthem played at Čunovo. You will carry the title of best R4 team in Europe for the next two years. Sure, it was on home ground, but did you expect this success?

Great rivalry

“It was a great honour for us to win on home soil. We were happy that we managed to win in the presence of our parents, fans, family, spouses and children. Our thanks to our coaches who trained us to paddle a kayak – Gaba Hochschorner a Jana Benus who also competed in Masters women; and our coach who taught us to train together and sit in the same raft – Stefan Lukacovic, who was our coach from 2004 to 2008 – they too had the opportunity to watch us in action at this great event. We were happy that the secretary of our federation – Tomas Lang, who has supported us since 2003, had the same opportunity. The families of Milan Petrovic and Rado Orokocky , our coaches, could see that the hours they devoted to our training were beneficial. 

We expected to have success in slalom, our most favourite discipline, however we feared the domestic pressure.”

mistral5– What was the biggest challenge in the competition?

“The biggest challenge was the Downriver/marathon. We occupied the third position during the first turn right after the start. We gradually won through to the second position and then we put our maximum effort into the last round. The feeling of victory was the most beautiful for us, although it was one of the most difficult marathons for our team during our rafting careers. Resounding cheers from our fans was tremendous, they even drowned out the roaring water.” 

– What are your impressions of this competition?

mistral8“The competition was well organised. We were all engaged in its preparation as volunteers – coaches and their families, secretary of our federation. We would like to express our thanks for their efforts. I helped with accommodation before the championships but then I concentrated only on the race.

We enjoyed the race. The last few years it has been much better for us to participate in the European Championships since competitions in Europe have reached a good level. Everything is decided on the water, the results achieved on the water are the most important, and the rules are followed during the entire race and the best ones on the water win.”

mistral9– On the platform you had your kids with you, how did they react to your success?

“They enjoyed the resounding cheers from our fans, and joined in yelling out “mum paddle”. It is very important for the children to have their mum’s nearby. They take pleasure in medals but they always say that we already have a lot of them at home. They struggle more when I leave for training, training camps and races but all mothers doing sport know how this works.”

– Will we see you now in Brazil?

“Brazil is still far away for us. So far we have no money and are still looking for donors and sponsors to cover our flight tickets and the race. Our Federation went to great expense to organize the European Championship, so right now we are looking for financial support and moral support. Maybe we shall see everyone in Brazil. We do not know yet ://”

Come on sponsors, these girls are the real gold of Slovakia and therefore invest in them!

Are there sponsors or others you would like to thank?

Husky and Imunoglukan are two companies we’d like to thank.

We certainly hope they will be able to participate in Brazil. Slovakia is a very rich country to have such a team. For years they have been highly successful overseas and this time they had the pleasure of taking success at home. They are a great example to all of us and we admire their success and can all learn from them. All the best girls.

Article by Nada