Athletics in the Czech Republic resumed on 1 June with 17,000 athletes competing across 173 locations as part of the Back on the Track initiative to mark the start of the summer campaign.
The initiative was highlighted by top level events in Kladno, Pilsen and Kolin which were televised live in the Czech Republic and made available to viewers worldwide courtesy of a non geo-blocked stream.
Two-time Olympic javelin champion Barbora Spotakova was among the athletes to take to the track for the first time this season and the world record-holder prevailed in Kladno with a winning throw of 63.69m ahead of her domestic rival Nikola Ogrodnikova’s 62.92m.
“I set myself the goal of throwing 60 metres: I believed I would throw it quite easily. Basically, I fulfilled it already in the warm-up then I didn't catch so well during the competition. At least one throw came off and I think there is still something left which is great,” commented Spotakova.
The meeting in Kladno took place under strict conditions to adhere to infection control rules but Spotakova wasn’t unduly affected by the lack of the spectators or the long break away from competition.
“On the contrary, I may have had an even greater desire to compete than ever before,” said Spotakova who was competing for the first time since the World Athletics Championships in Doha.
Former world silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch also showed good early season form in the men’s javelin, moving to third on the 2020 world list with a distance of 84.31m behind the Indian duo of Neeraj Chopra (87.86m) and Shivpal Singh (85.47m).
Another standout performance was achieved by Tomas Stanek. He achieved his aim of surpassing the 21 metre-line with 21.13m although he believes he could have gone even further on his outdoor season’s debut.
“Before the competition I thought I would be satisfied with this performance but I’m not completely satisfied, I could have thrown much further. I couldn't use my speed in the circle to send energy into the shot. It took me a while to get used to the circle. It's a pity, it could have been even better but it’s still a good start to the season,” he said.
In a highly competitive men’s 300m, Jan Jirka prevailed in 32.82 ahead of Matej Krsek (33.05) and Pavel Maslak (33.10) while Lada Vondrova won the women’s 300m in 37.22.
— Libor Varhaník (@LiborVarhanik) June 2, 2020
Commenting on the day's proceedings, Czech Athletic Federation President Libor Varhanik said: "I am very happy, it was amazing: 17,000 athletes at 173 stadiums is an excellent result of the strength of Czech athletics. I am grateful to everyone, I would like to thank all the athletes and organisers."