Nové Město na Moravě 07.– 18. 02.
18. 2. 2024

Hamza: I bow before the people who worked hard on it

The Biathlon World Championships are coming to an end. It's time for evaluation and recapitulation. And who else should speak on this topic than the head of the organizing committee and Czech biathlon, Jiří Hamza. "You have to ask others for evaluation," he said shortly before noon on Sunday, just before the last races. But then he elaborated on all possible pitfalls and joys of the championships. So what did Jiří Hamza say?

FIRST EVALUATION: How successful it was, others must evaluate. But I have to bow before those people who worked hard on it. It's not about us bureaucrats upstairs, but the people down there. And what those track workers, stadium staff, and snow groomers did, even though it will cost a lot more, everyone says it's unbelievable, and elsewhere, this championship wouldn't even run at this point. The whole team fully deserves big bonuses. They spent 14 days here. It's amazing to have such a team.

ABOUT THE WEATHER'S INFLUENCE ON THE BUDGET: You can't say and quantify it now. But we're talking about millions of Czech crowns. Transportation had to be rearranged two days before the races. We had Plan B, we even budgeted for it, so this shouldn't be a problem. As I said, the team around people like Vlasta Jakeš, Ota Binder, Honza Skřička, Michal Zicháček, Tomáš Hermann deserves an absolute discharge. I could name dozens and dozens of people. I think Vlasta slept maybe four hours a day. I'm really touched by it. People worked incredibly hard on it. And the budget? It certainly won't be negative."

ABOUT REACTIONS? Many people didn't believe we could do it here in such warmth at an altitude of 620 meters. A lot of people cursed me for the snow reservoir, accused me of who knows what. I think it showed that if we want to guarantee races, then up to 1500 meters will be necessary in the future. Today, there is no snow below 1500 meters above sea level anywhere in Europe. We have only one resort, which is Antholz. Maybe also Pokljuka. But it doesn't have such a strong snowmaking system. If there hadn't been a reservoir, we would have had to cancel the championship.

ABOUT THE FUTURE: There's a lot of talk about sustainability; without it, it won't work. And whether we'll have stored piles of snow somewhere or build a better silage pit like we have? I think today it's difficult to take that risk, that someone cancels the races, because insurance companies want huge money for those risks. Insurance is in the range of 15, 20 percent. Which would mean that insurance for this championship would cost maybe 40 million, so it's simply unrealistic for someone to pay such money for insurance. And as for the races, we have two World Cups in a row ahead of us now.

ABOUT ATTENDANCE: I want to thank the fans. Of course, as at the last World Championships, we combined it with school days because in those quiet days, we wouldn't sell out the Arena, and nobody in the world would. Weekends sell themselves. I think it doesn't matter if it was 190,000 or 204,000, that's just a number, but those people are incredible. Considering that we really traveled badly to the World Championships, it didn't go well for us, so what was here on Saturday was hell.

ABOUT CZECHS: We have to analyze it and say what's next. We probably don't do everything right if it doesn't work out, but it could be about details, the mindset of people in the production team and athletes. I believe we can handle it because we have talents, Tereza Voborníková, Tomáš Mikyska, Markéta Davidová is not old yet, to say we can't improve anymore. They have to say it from their side. Ondra Rybář, from a sports position, I don't want to discuss whether we have good skiing technique or bad shooting technique, that's not my position. But we will definitely deal with it. We wanted to come back already, but we didn't succeed, we have to prepare for the Olympics to be competitive there. It's evident that in all relays, we can drive into the top six, completely regularly, but we need to make a Bö step, move towards medals. Gradually, we're not football. We don't have the money or the human potential for that. It doesn't make sense to do it before the end of the season.

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