Interest in beach volleyball grows in Czech Republic, but money is lacking

Fifth place at the London Olympics, won by Czech beach volleyball players Kristýna Kolocová and Markéta Sluková, increased interest in beach volleyball in the Czech Republic. This is evident both in the media and in the influx of sponsors and new people interested in the game. It is most evident in Prague. However, even the growing wave of popularity has yet to bring in enough money for the sport to cover the costs of the season for professional couples.

Beach volleyball experts contacted by the daily E15 agreed that if the couple wants to practice the sport professionally, they must spend part of the season abroad. For training and tournaments. However, this is what dramatically increases the costs. It is then approximately two million crowns. But the amount can be higher. “It depends on the support team. It can include a trainer, a masseur, a physiotherapist and other specialists. And how much that team can afford to take with it to the venue of clinics or tournaments. So same the amount of two million may not be enough, ”said Jan Biječek of SK Plážový volejbal Slavkov.

Few couples have covered the entire season thanks to contributions from sponsors. “Of course, I don’t know the financial situation of each couple in detail. In my opinion, a couple in the republic is quite capable of living off the sponsorship money. Others have to pay part of the costs or withdraw from their demands. The Czech Volleyball Association also contributes a little. The biggest sponsors are usually player families, “added Michal Rázek, manager of the Beachklub Pankrác sports complex.

Couples can win money at world tournaments. But the rewards on them really only belong to the best. Although tournament grants are steadily increasing, unlike other sports, “only” millions are still at stake. The FIVB will distribute a total of $ 10.2 million in the 18 biggest tournaments this year. In most of them, the winning pair will take home $ 70,000 and the runner-up losing $ 52,000. The Kolocová-Suková pair, who are currently the best Czech pair, managed to win a tournament this year.

Thanks to the success of this duo, interest in beach volleyball is growing, especially among amateur players. That is why there are enough training grounds and halls in the Czech Republic where you can train in the winter. “We have around ten venues in Prague, or around 40 courts. Other halls can be found in Brno and Karviná, now there may be a hall in Chodov near Karlovy Vary and Pelhřimov, ”said Ondřej Vlček, head coach of the Prague beach team.

The possibility of training in winter is increasing, but the rooms are not suitable for professional players. “They have to spend as much time outside as possible. In the hall, the playing conditions are logically simpler. Professionals therefore travel to countries for the winter, where they can prepare themselves on the beach, where the sun is shining and the wind is blowing. However, these camps are very expensive. Performance players therefore often choose to prepare indoors and before the start of the season they will go a little further south for a week, for example to concentrate in Italy, ”concluded Pankrác Rázek.

Winston Ferguson

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