As part of our ongoing series, we have interviewed members of the European Athletics Young Leaders Youth Team.
They were all nominated by their federations to take part in the most recent Young Leaders Forum in Amsterdam, held in conjunction with the 2016 European Athletics Championships, and are all recognised as potential leaders of our sport in years to come.
The European Athletics Young Leaders Community is a platform for active young and ambitious people who are interested in developing work and life skills, getting involved in community service and making new friends.
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
My name is Lenka Rudová and I work in the International Department of the Czech athletic federation. My life has been connected to athletics since I was born because my parents are ex-athletes and they have worked as coaches for a long time. So far, I have been engaged in projects related to kids’ athletics and anti-doping.
How did you become involved with the European Athletics Young Leaders Community?
I was new at the federation when a possibility to send one participant to take part in the Young Leaders Forum appeared. It was decided that I was a good candidate because I had had a great connection with athletics even before I was even employed by the federation and I had the potential to become a leader for Czech athletics.
I was really nervous before my departure to Amsterdam but after arriving I realised that everybody was super-friendly and helping us to enjoy our stay as much as possible. We all learnt a lot, felt that we wanted the same [goals] and we became a great athletic family.
At the end of the Young Leaders Forum, I was motivated to continue and volunteer for the European Athletics Young Leaders Community because I believe it is a great project.
What is your favourite thing about athletics?
What I love about athletics is that it is a sport for everyone. It fosters people's natural skills thanks to the fact that there are so many disciplines everybody can choose from.
Also, there are so many possibilities of what you can experience within athletics. It is a sport full of emotions because every hundredth-of-a-second and millimetre matters.
Who is your athletics hero and why?
My athletic hero is anyone who is able to continue, even though his or her body is in pain, and who strives for excellence.
However, if I have to name one real hero, it would be Barbora Špotáková, the Czech javelin thrower who won the Olympic gold twice, holder of the world record and with whom I had the luck of meeting several times. She is so nice and in a good mood all the time, a real sports star.
Which areas of the sport are you particularly interested in?
I am particularly interested in throws because I used to do these disciplines but I like women’s hurdles as well because that is the discipline in which my mother was a Czech record-holder for more than a decade.
If you could change one aspect of the sport, what would you change and why?
If I was able to change one aspect of sport, I would make it clean, without doping. I really hate the fact that something like doping exists, that athletes do not have the same conditions, that some of them can sleep freely even though they know their achievements were not fair.
Where do you see yourself within the sport in ten years’ time?
It is very hard to say where I see myself within the sport in ten years´ time. I feel that I am at the very beginning of my sports journey. My plan is to learn as much as I can to be able to serve our sport more and more professionally.
What has been your highlight of Young Leaders experience so far?
Every afternoon at the Olympic Stadium during the European Championships in Amsterdam where we were watching great athletics performances and cheering; that spirit was the best I have ever experienced with Young Leaders.