Biathlon official looks forward to “home” World Championships challenge

Vlastimil Jakeš

The Czech town of Nové Město na Moravě is gearing up for the 2024 Biathlon World Championships, which kick off next Wednesday. It’s only the second time that the country, and Nové Město, is hosting this major sports event – and the preparations have been quite challenging, says the deputy president of the Czech Biathlon Union, Vlastimil Jakeš.

Vlastimil Jakeš | Photo: René Volfík,

“It’s much bigger than a normal World Cup. If we talk about the number of participants, the number of media organisations, the number of TV companies, spectators and so on, it’s a, let’s say, three times bigger event than a normal World Cup. So it’s a big challenge organising everything all together.

“The second thing is the number of days the event goes on for. A normal World Cup is four or five days, and the World Championships are more than two weeks.

“Then of course the competition, the events themselves, are over nine or 10 days. So it’s a very long time from the beginning to the end to keep the tracks and the shooting range and the stadium in good condition, to be all OK for competitions, for the athletes – to be fair for everybody, every day.”

The last World Championships in Czechia were the beginning of a big boom for Czech biathlon. What state is the team in going into this year’s edition? How many medals would you be satisfied with?

Vysočina Arena | Photo: Barbora Navrátilová,  Radio Prague International

“[Laughs] Just now, looking back at the season, we would dream of something, we hope for something, but definitely we are in an absolutely different situation than before.

“So we will see. We can hope. One medal would be perfect, it probably would be enough for us, but we will see.”

The Czech team will obviously be performing in front of thousands of home fans in Nové Město. Is that an advantage? Or is it extra pressure on the team?

“For sure, for each country on the one hand to compete in front of the home stadium is a perfect advantage.  But on the other hand it is really big stress for them. Because especially in Nové Město the atmosphere is really amazing.

“Everybody says you can only experience this atmosphere in Nové Město na Moravě, because of the situation with the stadium; there are a lot if spectators there. So I don’t envy them competing in front of this stadium.”

Is it possible to still by tickets if people are interested in coming?

Photo: Barbora Navrátilová,  Radio Prague International

“Everything is online, so you can try on our website to buy tickets.

“The last three days are, let’s say, 99 percent sold-out, and so is the beginning. But there are still quite a lot of tickets from the Tuesday, in the second week, so there is still the chance to buy tickets.”

How closely are you guys watching the weather forecast? Or are you already accepting that the weather won’t be ideal?

“The weather isn’t cooperating with us, this is absolutely clear. So for the beginning it is absolutely crazy [it should be 8C and wet Wednesday].

“We’re checking maybe three times per day if it’s going to be better or worse.

“In the end we have to be ready for everything. So the beginning will definitely not be our dream, but we hope that the end… as we say, what is in the end is what we will remember.

“So we hope that at least for the last weekend that it will be sunny and nice weather.”