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Paralympian Swimmer Breaks European Record in the Czech Republic

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151   //    12 Apr 2019, 08:40 IST

Arnost Petracek became a new European-record holder
Arnost Petracek became a new European-record holder

On April 6, a new record was set in the 50-meter backstroke during the 1st meet of The Czech-Slovak Cup 2019 series.

Arnost Petracek became a new European-record holder. He finished 50m distance backstroke in 42.76 seconds. This result is better than the previous world record, but it cannot be officially recognized as there was no anti-doping control.

IPC (International Paralympic Committee) can accept it only as the European record. It is a rare situation when a European record is better than the world one. The new record holder is a world, two-time European and a Paralympic champion from Rio-de-Janeiro Paralympic Games 2016.

In total, 128 athletes from 16 clubs participated in 28 events during the first meet of the Czech-Slovak Cup 2019 series. 9-year-old Melvin Alyssa May (Juniors under-11) became the youngest winner of the competition.

That's what Jan Nevrkla, a programme founder and Arnost Petracek coach, says about establishing such an organization:

“It was so hard, how difficult it is always in the life to reach the right moment when you do not have to think about what to do, you just do it. The spinal cord injury of my school mate Martin Kovar (Later four times Paralympic champion) during studying at The Faculty of Physical Education and Sports at Charles University became a breaking moment, and everything went in the right rhythm and way. I found a job, an activity that I am identified with, we established KONTAKT BB, and the others followed us”.

It is always significant pressure for the organizers to prepare everything, to adjust all logistic, to raise funds while running regular programme and swim training along with all para-swimmers of the club. We have been organizing the competition since 1992, bigger ones were presented in 1996 and the international ones - in 2002,” Jan Nevrkla said.

The head organizer of the competition was a member of SK KONTAKT KARLOVY VARY - one of the CONTACT Beyond Borders clubs. The competition took place 17 times, allowing young swimmers to compete with top athletes - champions and prize-winners of the Paralympic Games.

Maxim Bederov, an IT entrepreneur from Germany, supported the event. He became a sponsor and volunteer of the PARA SWIMMING PRAGUE sport club. Businessman granted co-organizers from CONTACT BB - Para Swim Academy a check for €10,000.

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“It's a shame that such organizations are underfunded. The athletes we see competing today showed us nothing but courage and determination. They set an example for everyone by demonstrating that everything is possible. I am very grateful to the organizers who let me support this competition, and I'm going to encourage my business colleagues to follow my lead,” - Maxim Bederov stated.

The CONTACT Beyond Borders Academy held the Czech-Slovak Cup series for the 17th time. It is one of the qualification stages for participation in the Czech Championship leading to qualifying for the Paralympic Games.

CONTACT Beyond Borders is a unique project with roots back in 1992, founded in 1998 that developed a para-swimming culture in the Czech Republic. The organization provides disabled people with swimming training using its own created Aqua (E)Motion Therapy method. It gives athletes both an opportunity to exercise and a sense of belonging.

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