PM signals future changes in sports funding
Few sports fans in the Czech Republic will forget the recent Beijing Olympics, where the country notched up six medals, three silver and three gold. The games featured a number of gripping stories, including the very first gold medal win of the games by shooter Kateřina Emmons as well as Barbora Špotáková’s stunning last-minute win in the javelin. Yet days since the Olympics ended, the country’s prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, has now expressed disappointment. On Wednesday, Mladá fronta Dnes writes, he stated flatly that Czechs should have won more medals, given how much money the state spends on sport. He made clear, too, that there could now be changes to come.
“I have no problem with those who provide the funding managing how funds are spent. That’s their right. But to suggest that our athletes did too little just days after the Olympics, that’s simply insulting. Sport isn’t math, and even the best–trained and most talented athletes, after hundreds of hours of training, can come up short. I can’t imagine what we’d say to other excellent athletes, such as US shooter Mathew Emmons, if he were Czech. He had the misfortune of losing gold – not once, but twice - at the Olympics.”
“Our aim will be to analyse the system, to make sure funds aren’t being spent needlessly. There might be examples in the bureaucracy, when you consider the involvement of different sports bodies, where funding can be streamlined. The money saved could then go directly to training athletes.”