Athletes in the Czech Republic are due to take to the track again in over 100 stadiums across the country on Monday 1 June after the government has allowed gatherings of a maximum of 50 people from 25 May.
With athletes around the world keen for competitive opportunities, the Czech Athletic Federation has been looking for ways to allow domestic athletes to compete at a high level while meeting the required conditions. The Czech Athletic Federation is therefore preparing a series of six elite “micro-meetings” which will start the competitive season with the very first meeting due to take place in Kladno on 1 June.
The first meeting will take place at the Sletiste Stadium with the presence of the leading Czech athletes including world javelin record-holder Barbora Spotakova, three-time world and European indoor 400m champion Pavel Maslak and Czech shot put record-holder Tomas Stanek.
Under the ‘Back to the Track’ initiative which was launched today, at least another 100 events will also be held for children across the country. The aim of this initiative is for the Czech athletics fraternity to be together at the start of this year's competitive season.
"Athletes want to compete as soon as possible and our federation has found a way to arrange the events with a limited number of fifty people. There will be six micro-meetings during June with the participation of the top Czech athletes in various places around the country," said Libor Varhanik, President of the Czech Athletic Federation and European Athletics Executive Board member.
“To arrange competitions for elite athletes is not the only aim of the initiative. We want to engage athletes of all age categories and performance levels, to encourage organisers across the country to return to their stadiums, albeit with limited conditions so far. That's why we are jumping in together on 1 June at one hundred and more athletics stadiums under the slogan ‘Back on the Track’. We are calling on the regions as well as clubs to get involved in the initiative," added Varhanik.
There will be at least three events on the programme in Kladno on 1 June – women's javelin, men's shot put and men's 300m – and the meeting will be televised live on Czech Television, although the event will take place without any spectators.
On her upcoming season’s debut in Kladno, Spotakova said: "I'm really looking forward to the first competition, even if it is in a limited mode. I believe competing is always something more than training. I am glad we will be with many other athletes throughout the Czech Republic at the start of the season together, although more or less symbolically, distant.”
Spotakova, Maslak and Stanek are to compete in at least one of the other micro-meetings in June. The remaining five legs of the series will include other disciplines and also, on one occasion a combined events competition.
As part of the “Back on the Track” project, the federation is planning to connect competitions across the country at least virtually, using social media.
The Czech Athletic Federation is keen to stress it is working within government rules that should be in force from 25 May, namely the possibility of organising competitions with a maximum of 50 people and that all micro-meetings and competitions around the country will be adapted accordingly.
Czech Athletic Federation for European Athletics