This week FIS features some questions and answers with FIS Council Member Milan Jirasek (CZE).
Q. You have taken a particular interested in FIS Junior World Ski Championships and have represented the Council at several of them. How would you say that they have developed over the years and how significant are they for FIS?
A. I have been keeping an eye on the FIS Junior World Ski Championships since their beginning. I even watched the European edition as their forerunner. The sports, organizational and social standards for the event are constantly getting higher. Especially in the last few years, they have become a big event which means great motivation for the participating athletes and their future careers. We have to be aware that for FIS, the Junior World Ski Championships represent an important investment in the future. I am personally interested in the development of the athletes throughout their careers and on how long it takes them to become part of the world elite.
Q. As in many other European countries, this winter has been extremely difficult in the Czech Republic, with very little snow and many cancellations. What does this mean to Czech skiing?
A. The skiing conditions have really been very adverse in the Czech Republic this winter. Next to the cancellation of the World Cups, it was very difficult to carry out the national competitions as well. Huge investments in the winter resorts could not have brought the expected profits. I am also afraid that the poor conditions made children switch to other sports, which we might come to see in the future. I hope that this winter’s extreme weather vagaries were an exception and will not appear again in the near future.
Q. The next FIS Nordic World Ski Championships will be held in Liberec in 2009, the first in your country since 1970. How is the work advancing there in your view and what do you expect from the event?
A. Liberec has waited for the World Championships for years. The enthusiasm and working approach of the young Organizing Committee shows that. I do not dare to evaluate if everything is progressing according to the plan. So far, the Organizing Committee has received the best marks from the FIS Coordination Group (comprised of members from FIS, the European Broadcasting Union as television rights holders and their marketing partner APF) that supervises and supports the preparations. The World Championships in Liberec in 2009 is of cardinal importance for the development of skiing in the Czech Republic. They will promote skiing among our public and especially among our youth. Building and improving the necessary sport and general infrastructure is also considerable. I trust that the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in my country will be up to a high standard in all respects.