Ahead of the World Athletics Championships which begin in Paris on Saturday, the greatest athlete in the history of the javelin, Jan Zelezny, tells us why he left the announcement he was going so late, adding he hopes to finish his career on a high at next year's Olympics. And Roman Sebrle, who holds the world points record in the decathlon, says that while he too has Athens in his sights, his main aim at the moment is to take gold in Paris.
Several Czech athletes hoping for medals at Paris World Championships
"Last year I had some problems with my back, I had an operation, that's why I didn't like to speak so early before the World Championships. After Zurich I know I'm feeling good, I have a chance to take a medal, that's why I say I'll compete."
You've achieved more than anybody else in the history of your sport. How much motivation do you still have?
"I have motivation because I like sport, I still know I have a chance, and that's my motivation."
Is it the case that all your preparations this year are aiming towards the Olympics next year in Athens?
"Yes, this year for me is preparation for next year. The Olympic Games is everything for me, and that's why I've prepared a little bit differently this year than last year. What I would like would be for next year to be my best year."
Will next year be your last year?
"I don't know. It's very difficult to say now, maybe yes, maybe no. If I compete very well at the Olympic Games that'll maybe be the end."
Jan Zelezny is of course not the only Czech hoping to take a medal at the World Championships. Watch out for 18-year-old Jaroslav Baba in the high-jump, Jiri Muzik in the 400 metre hurdles, Vera Pospisilova in the discus and of course decathlete Roman Sebrle. Sebrle holds the world points record and is the current European champion in the decathlon. Ian Willoughby asked him if he was aiming for the highest spot on the podium.
"Yes, of course I want to go for gold, because the preparation was good and I feel very good and I want to win gold."
This weekend you're going to Paris for the World Championships, next year is the Olympics in Athens, which is the bigger tournament for you?
"Of course Athens is the Olympic Games, I think about it all the time...but now I have six days before (my event in) the World Championships and I don't think about Athens, I only think about Paris."
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