Gold swimmer from the last year's Paralympic Games in Brazil Arnošt Petráček will be one of the biggest stars of the upcoming European Youth Games for the Disabled „Emil Open“ in Brno in June. Sport is an integral part of his life and through sport he also helps others to start to like sport and swimming.
How did the success in Rio affect your life? Did you get in touch with new sponsors? Did things go better?
When I came back from Rio, I did several interviews for newspapers and magazines. We also had the chance to cooperate with the Czech television and thanks to this we got in touch with some sponsors. Many things have improved since then so we all are glad.
Sure you have a full program also this year. How many events do you plan?
The world championships in Mexico will surely be the peak of the season an the end of September. Next big competition is in Berlin in June. I also planned the trip to the Carlsbad Cup where I wanted to find out about my shape exactly half a year after the Paralympic Games – physically and also mentally. There are several competitions. I am planning the competition also for able-bodied people at the end of April – Usti nad Labem Grand Prix. And then, three days after, we are flying with my coach to Sheffield for the English championships. I also have to mention the training camp with the representation, which we have three times this year, plus other individual training camps abroad together with my coach.
But you also plan to start at Emil Open in Brno. How do you look forward to it and how important is this event to you?
Yes, I do plan to start at the European Games. Each event is important and I consider Emil Open in June a very good competition. I will prepare for this championship as I do for any other major events.
Your parents are an important part of your sports life. Do they also plan to travel to some championships with you?
When I started my swimming career, my parents used to travel with me a lot. They sat on the tribune and helped me at the competitions. Now, it is not so often. Of course, they were in Rio which they enjoyed a lot. We will see whether they will travel somewhere also this year. I guess they plan the IBM Berlin, the German championship because the top world athletes are gathering there for the competition. I consider this event the next world championship.
How do you manage the travelling and your study?
It is very difficult but it is possible thanks to the helpfulness of the school management. The school where I study – the University of Technology and Economy also has its project “Without barriers” to help handicapped people who study here.
How do you manage to relax from the everyday busy life?
The best relaxation is in the water – whether it is the trainings or doing benefits that I like. It is in Prachatice where I swim with my clients who are mostly mentally impaired. I teach them the swimming technique and various things about the sport. It is a great relaxation for me. They are very skilled. I also work as a referee at swimming competitions.
What is the role of sport in the human’s life? Even plenty of able-bodied people always have some excuse to not to do any sport? Why it is so important?
I have a motto: Water is my life. Sport has taught me many things not only about the sport life. It is a big gift for me – thanks to sport I have a lot of friends who support me and I could not live without it.
What would you recommend to young people who would love to compete at major championships one day too?
The biggest motivation is the fact that you make many friends and meet new people who will push you forward. Thanks to them, you suddenly have the motivation to compete and travel to the competitions. It is important to have the right people around you and thanks to them you can do the sport and give it 100%. I always give 120%.