PLZEŇ – On Wednesday, November 1, the Best Athlete of the Pilsen Region for the last thirty years was announced in the Ceremonial Hall of the Pilsen Town Hall. The survey was organized by the Sporting Youth Foundation on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its foundation in cooperation with the Foundation Fund of West Bohemian Olympians. The winner was hockey player Martin Straka.
Among the nominated personalities who made a significant mark in the history of not only domestic sports, there were a number of excellent athletes of the recent past: Petr Čech (former football goalkeeper, now ice hockey goalkeeper in the third British league), Kateřina Emmons (shooting), Andrea Sestini Hlaváčková (tennis ), Filip Jícha (handball), Roman Kreuziger (cycling), Michal Michalík (modern pentathlon), Jiří Mužík (athletics), Jan Řehula (triathlon), Martin Straka (ice hockey), Barbora Strýcová (tennis), Jaroslav Špaček (ice hockey), Zdeněk Štybar (cycling).
The winner of the poll was decided by public voting on the Internet, and sports fans could express their preferences and vote for their favorite personalities. The overall winner was Olympic champion from Nagano and world champion in ice hockey Martin Straka, who personally received the commemorative plaque for the victory in the poll from the hands of the mayor of Pilsen, Roman Zarzycký.
“I respect Martin Straka as a hockey player and as a person with whom I had the opportunity to work on the basis of a hockey club. Martin is one of the symbols of our golden hockey era crowned with success in Nagano. I still remember the euphoria when he returned from the NHL to the Czech extra league to take over Škoda Pilsen and lead it to its first ever title as owner and player. These are extraordinary achievements that have gone down in the history of Czech hockey and the city of Pilsen,” said Mayor Roman Zarzycký.
The ceremonial announcement took place in the presence of important guests, including top representatives of the city of Pilsen, city districts, members of the Board of Directors of the Sports Youth Foundation and members of the West Bohemian Olympians Foundation Fund. “The main goal of the survey was to commemorate the successful sports careers of all nominated athletes, many of whom were awarded by the Sporting Youth Foundation in the framework of the Sportsman of Pilsen survey, then still in the youth categories. Some were supported by the Sporting Youth Foundation, similar to the way the foundation helps sports hopefuls from Pilsen, e.g. through the Talent Plzeň grant,” said Petr Chvojka, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sporting Youth Foundation.