and will be welcome the most prestigious athletic event possibly held in the Czech Republic on September 8 and 9, 2018.
The Continental Cup is world's highest global event that the Czech Republic can host and the world's most prestigious athletic team championships. This characteristic is also in line with the financial budget of the action. "The budget is around 274 million crowns, which is double the budget to illustrate the European Indoor Championships in 2015 in Prague," says Libor Varhaník, President of the Continental Cup LOC and the Czech Athletic Federation. "The best of the best will come to Ostrava. Champions and vice-champions of single continents, so we also called our campaign a duel of champions," he adds.
The Continental Cup is held every four even non-Olympic years, and as such it is the most important global event in 2018. It is a team competition of an atypical format, there are selections of four continents against each other: Europe, America, Africa and the joint Asia & Oceania team. In each discipline, two women and two men will represent each team.
The Continental Cup 2018 in Ostrava is supported by 4 foreign ambassadors, whose role is active as they are team captains with possible influence on final result, and 4 Czech patrons, who are matched with continents. “I am glad we have such stellar athletes,” underlines Varhaník.
Europe’s ambassador became the former world record holder in the 110m hurdles Colin Jackson, American athletes will be encouraged by the author of the longest jump in history Mike Powell. The other two continents have "split" two ladies, both the former two-time world champions in the 400 m hurdles: the team of Asia and Oceania is led by Jan Pittman and Africa's ambassador is Nezha Bidouane.
Czech patrons and also, patrons of year-round project for schools and sections are javelin double Olympic champion Barbora Špotáková, triple World indoor champion in 400m Pavel Maslák, silver European medallist in the pole vault Jan Kudlička and World junior champion in the high jump Michaela Hrubá.
Two of the Czech ambassadors, Špotáková and Kudlička were present at today's press conference in Praha, the first big occasion four months prior to the cup.
"I am very happy to be a patron,” says Barbora Špotáková. “I have an attachment to Asia, I have been successful there (Osaka, Beijing, Daegu), and area’s philosophy is close to mine. Also, I love the violet colour,” she smiles wearing the official T-shirt. "I was lucky to have competed at the cup, but a bit unlucky, because the 50,000 stadium in Marrakesh was empty," she adds.
"I am sure that in Ostrava it will be quite different, I feel interest in tickets in my surroundings, and I believe that the event will be an organizational success. Ostrava has a name in the world, and the best of the best know it there, they will definitely come there and fans will enjoy the event. I am very pleased to be there with the kids and cheer on, of course, not only my team but also Europe where our athletes will be," says Špotáková, who expects the birth of a second child in July.
"I am lucky to be an ambassador," says Jan Kudlička. "And it's great that we managed to get this big event to Ostrava, because I think we will not experience anything like that anymore," adds Kudlička, who is also a native of Opava, a few dozen kilometres away. " If I did not qualify, or even was not an ambassador, I would be there as a spectator, which reminds me ... I will need some tickets!" he jokes around.
"Also, I'm very curious about the testing event for children on June 6. It was already clear at the draw (school/club assignment to teams, see below) last November that the interest in the “Ostrava supports continents” project is strong, and it is very good that the promotion of the cup – especially among young people – is being taken seriously.”
Although IAAF Continental Cup takes place in early September, the event has been alive in the city, the region, and even nationwide since autumn last year thanks to the “Ostrava supports continents” project lead by Czech Athletic Federation together with the City of Ostrava and the Moravian-Silesian Region. 30 elementary schools in Ostrava, 27 secondary schools in the region, and 120 athletic clubs in the country signed in the project with some 17,000 children involved.
The project is supported by the ambassadors and patrons, who are former international and recent Czech athletics stars. The goal of 'Ostrava supports continents' project is to involve children in regular physical activity, because athletics is basis of all sports and this connection offers the chance. To be interesting for children, it is certainly important they have their patrons in the project – so we co-operate with four leading Czech athletes who have become faces of the school project in which they are engaging in various roles throughout the year,” explains Libor Varhaník, chairman of Czech Athletic Federation.
“At the same time,” follows Varhaník, “we are taking advantage of athletes from all over the world coming to Ostrava. The ambassadors of each school are former leading athletic stars from each continent that are connected directly with schools. We would like children to learn about culture, habits, or life of athletes in different parts of the world and other aspects just in conjunction with our ambassadors.”
“Thanks to positive approach of the IAAF, the best young athletes from the long-term project will compete in special pre-program of IAAF Continental Cup on 8 & 9 September directly at the City Stadium in Ostrava,” adds Valter Boček, LOC Executive Director. Representatives of schools involved in the project will certainly have their seats in the audience as well. Children are motivated to physical activities, to learn about the continents, or to make fan connection while they are signed for the teams and are to cheer on them at the competition.
The unique concept of a long-term competition for primary and secondary schools in the region started ceremoniously on 16 November 2017, when draw ceremony took place at the town hall of Ostrava and all involved schools were allocated to particular continent (team).
In March and April, there were the first (but not last) events in the campaign. Patrons Barbora Špotáková in Ostrava and Pavel Maslák in Opava supported hundreds of enthusiastic children at these legs of roadshow.
Tickets are available through Ticketportal (www.ticketportal.cz). Currently 75% of the tickets are sold, so fans should not hesitate to buy. “I believe, the rest will soon disappear,” warns Varhaník. Ticket prices start at 150 CZK per day, the highest category is 500 CZK.
The Continental Cup is a team competition and it is always two best athletes of each event representing each continent and according to combined ranking they bring points to a particular continental team – Europe, Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific. The highest score then decides about the winning team. There is new competition format to be applied in Ostrava. What specific changes are we talking about?
“New competition rules support the team spirit and dedication to the particular continent,” says LOC Chairman Libor Varhaník. “It should bring more drama not only in single events but also in the development of the continuous ranking of teams. Last but not least, it should also bring more fun for spectators at the venue as well as for TV viewers,” believes Varhaník.
Team captains’ bet on winners
Although team captains are not competing, they may actively influence final score and not only with giving athletes some useful pieces of advice or encouraging them. “The captains will have two jokers to bet on victory in one male and one female event for each day of the competition. In case of win in specified event, their team will gain a double number of points,” says Varhaník. Ambassadors, i.e. captains are: Colin Jackson (Europe), Mike Powell (Americas), Jana Pittman (Asia-Pacific), Nezha Bidouane (Africa). More on captains: see chapter Ambassadors & Patrons (page …)
Event scoring for team spirit
Scoring of each event supports team spirit. Team ranking is determined according to ranking of both athletes representing each continent in individual event. Teams receive points in 8-6-4-2 format for each event, then.
From 3 to 5 attempts in throws in horizontal jumps
Each athlete has three attempts in long jump, triple jump, shot put, discus throws, hammer throw, javelin throw. Next attempt is given only to better athlete in each team, that is, fourth series have one European, one African, one American, one Asia-Pacific representative. Depending on the fourth attempt result, only two best get the fifth (and final) attempt, which decides overall winner.
Both 3000 metres flat and 3000 metres steeplechase take form of elimination race. All eight competitors run the first 1400 metres (3 and half laps) together, after that, each lap one (the last) runner is eliminated. As a result, only four runners reach the last round, on the other hand eliminated runners also gain points (depending on which lap they are knocked out).
‘Gender tactics’ in mixed relay
There are two ladies and two gentlemen representing each continent in 4x400 metres mixed relay. Men with women may meet head to head, while there are no fixed rules for gender setting on either leg, that is, also seeding is matter of tactics.
The event has been held irregularly since 1977, the first ten edition in a different format and called the IAAF World Cup. The third year of the IAAF Continental Cup will be held in Ostrava.
IAAF World Cup
IAAF Continental Cup
Czech(oslovak)s at the cup
5 winners: Helena Fibingerová (1977), Jarmila Kratochvílová (1981), Jan Železný (1992), Tomáš Janků (2006), Barbora Špotáková (2014)
Ms. Karolína Farská
Czech Athletic Federation’s spokesman
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