Czech javelin thrower plans to outdo coach at European Championships
Saturday, 23 June 2012
June 23 - Vítězslav Veselý, the Czech javelin thrower whose personal best of 88.11 metres at the Samsung Diamond League in Oslo this month heads this year's world listings, is heading towards the London 2012 Games with renewed confidence.
But before that, Veselý (pictured below) hopes to manage something that proved beyond his illustrious coach Jan Železný, for all his world and Olympic titles.
That is, winning a gold medal at the European Athletics Championships, which take place in Helsinki from next Wednesday (June 27) to July 1.
"Although he won the Olympics and the world championships, Jan never won the Europeans," Veselý said.
"If I am fit in Helsinki I would love to do it myself."
Vesely's performance in producing a massive personal best in the Bislett Stadium to defeat a field which included all his major rivals for the London 2012 Olympic title has established him as the form thrower of this year so far.
And now he is heading for Helsinki, the place he calls "the sanctuary" of javelin throwing with the ambition of earning his first big international championship medal at the relatively advanced age of 29.
"It's a strange situation to have the Europeans in the same year as the Olympics for the first time, but I think it can be a good preparation for what is to come," he said.
"It is also maybe a little bit risky because the European Championships is a qualifying round and then a final, which is always a bit more demanding.
"But I want to use the opportunity.
"I am expecting there to be a very good atmosphere in Helsinki.
"I think for all javelin throwers this is the best place for a competition. I know what it is like, because I have been there before.
"As I said, it is the sanctuary for the javelin.
"Of course we have a big tradition of the javelin in the Czech Republic because of throwers like Železný (pictured below) and Barbora Špotáková.
"But I think nothing is equal to Finland when it comes to the javelin, because of their tradition.
"When Tero Pitkämäki won the world title for Finland in 2007, it was said that there were five million people in Finland, and every one of them was a javelin expert!
"But I think it's very good that such a land exists for the javelin."
Veselý's (pictured below) career has been a stop-start affair, although it has had a smoother course since he began training with Železný six years ago.
"Javelin throwing has been very difficult for me for many years," he said.
"I started a bit later than most of the other international throwers, when I was 18, but when I was 20 I gave the sport up.
"Then when I was 23 I started again.
"I was out for that time because I had a big problem with my elbow. I was unable to compete for almost two years.
"When Jan and I first worked together I was still a long way from being able to throw 80 metres.
"The key to my progression is that I have managed to stay healthy.
"I don't think I have a similar technique to Jan. My technique is a lot simpler.
"When I first started working with Jan I tried copying him.
"But in the end I realised it was stupid to do that.
"You must throw the javelin how you feel is natural for you. You cannot just copy."
Having finished ninth at the 2010 Europeans, and fourth in last year's IAAF World Championships, he is edging closer to the podium in a big competition.
"Missing out on a World Championship medal by one place in Daegu last year was more motivation for me," he said.
"It was a little bit frustrating because I knew I was in very good shape.
"But I didn't sell it.
"So definitely this is a big motivation for 2012.
"I hope it Helsinki will be an ideal preparation before the Olympics – and that there will be nobody missing."