I try to ensure that the children do something meaningful, says Pavol Podhradský
The money you received last year was supposed to cover expenses related to the championship in Slovakia and some other tournaments. Is that correct?
Of course, but it mainly helps during the intensive winter preparation when volleyball players have to practice in heated halls. In the summer, they can find a sand court almost anywhere. The funds are primarily intended for financing the volleyball club in Nové Mesto nad Váhom. And the club redirected these funds to my daughter, who is now training and studying in Bratislava.Payments for her training sessions in Bratislava's Draždiak, where she practices in inflatable halls, are deducted from the budget.
So, your daughter started attending college and continues with volleyball in Bratislava?
She is studying at an economics school. She wanted to go to Charles University in Prague for holistic medicine, but when the entrance exams were happening, she had an international tournament, so she didn't attend them and began her studies in Bratislava. She is now considering trying for Prague again next year.
So, she probably can't train with her partner in a duo like she did in Nové Mesto. Does she have a new one?
She has now chosen a new partner, Miška Páneková. The national team coach, Michaela Cibulová, always selects the girls for the European Championship or another significant tournament based on who is best prepared. One year, my daughter went to the European Championship with Kristína Čierna, and then with Karolína Majerníková. However, the decision about who will attend the championship is made by the national team coach, who selects the girls based on their best condition.
Her previous partners in international tournaments were from Nové Mesto nad Váhom. So, is it due to your efforts that the volleyball club has been so successful?
Not really. Only when my daughter started playing there did I start to take a bit of interest, dedicating my free time to them. I traveled with them to various training camps. We went to tournaments in Pelhřimov, often trained in Viktoria in Brno, or in Olympia in Brno. I devoted my free time to the kids. Now, I'm trying to give more time to my son again. Last year, both my children even became champions of Slovakia, each in their category. My son in the under-16 category and my daughter in the under-22. My daughter has been playing beach volleyball since she was 14, and at 16, she was a pioneer at the European Championship as the first girl from Nové Mesto, and then it kept progressing.
Does she qualify again for the European Championship since she's the champion of Slovakia?
Last year, she was getting her driver's license and graduating from high school, so she told the coach that her studies were a priority, which is why she didn't attend the European Championship. However, we hope she gets in again this year. Physical fitness and the points she collects in the rankings are essential. Also, whether the national team coach gives her a chance matters.
How much does she need to train to get that opportunity?
She trains four times a week, and when she's home, she trains there too. Additionally, she assists coaches and trains younger children.
You mentioned you play hockey, and you've encouraged both your children towards sports. Are you a big sports enthusiast?
When I noticed my child was interested, I tried to support them. My daughter is now nineteen, and my son is about to turn fourteen. I wanted the kids to engage in something meaningful. My son boxed, skated, played football, and now he's starting volleyball like his sister.
How much time does all this take you?
A lot. For instance, two years ago, we went to Monaco four times. Jana Zyani, originally from Slovakia and now married there, is a top beach volleyball coach, so I took the kids there for ten days, four times. I supervised them, cooked for them, drove them around, and did everything necessary.
Is it no problem with your work?
We always find a way. I'm in charge of security services for ZVS Holding in Dubnica nad Váhom. I manage 26 people who guard the facility in four shifts.
You've taken advantage of employee sponsorship several times. So, you appreciate the opportunity to get a contribution for sports and other activities?
Absolutely. The money is needed. At the same time, I always make sure it's used correctly. Once, I was even informed not to ask every time, as others might find it excessive. However, apparently, Mr. Strnad intervened directly, saying that the project was well-prepared, I use my free time meaningfully, so why shouldn't I receive support.