18/06/2015 09:11
Premysl Kubala and the story of an unfinished tattoo…
2015 European Games

Baku, Azerbaijan, June 18, 2015. Premysl Kubala and Jan Hadrava of the Czech Republic opened Thursday’s programme on the centre court of the Beach Arena in Baku with a 21-15, 21-13 victory in their match with Turkey’s Selcuk Sekerci and Hasan Hüseyin Mermer. Kubala, 41, is the oldest player in the field at the Baku 2015 European Games and his story is one of a kind.

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“The credit for today’s victory goes entirely to my partner Jan Hadrava,” Kubala says. “He scored many aces and his setting was just great, this way he made it easy for me to attack and to score. There are 10 to 11 teams that can take the gold medal here. And we will of course fight to be one of them,” Kubala adds.

Kubala and Hadrava have a perfect record so far in the tournament as yesterday they cruised to a 21-18, 21-19 win in their opening match with Steven van de Velde and Michiel van Dorsten of the Netherlands.

The 202 cm tall Premysl Kubala still plays indoors as a middle blocker in the second division of the Czech national league as part of his winter preparation for the summer season. “I did this all my life and I have never had a problem to switch to sand. I’m used to it. It takes me two weeks and then I am ready to fight,” he says.

Kubala is a 2012 Olympian and in London he finished the competition in seventeenth place with his former partner Petr Benes who has since retired from competitive sport. However, he is determined to get to feel the Olympic spirit once more next year at Rio. To get an extra boost of motivation he has an unfinished tattoo of the Olympic rings on his left shoulder.

“My biggest motivation is to get this tattoo finished next year. If I qualify for the Rio Olympics it will be complete. If not, maybe I can go to the Olympics again as a coach in the future, you never know, maybe the tattoo will remain unfinished and be a nice reminder of what I have been dreaming of in the late stages of my career,” he says with a smile.

His father, Milan Kubala, is a famous Paralympic athlete in the Czech Republic who won as many as three medals at the Paralympic Games in the discus throw – silver at Atlanta 1996 and then gold at Sydney and Athens in 2000 and 2004.

“I am here thanks to my mother and father. They are my greatest inspiration. Since my father has been to many Paralympic Games, I know what it takes to get there. My mother put me in a Volleyball school when I was 15 years old. I wanted to quit after one year but she forced me to go back and to continue. If it wasn’t for her I would not be here at all,” Kubala said.

The next generation of this Olympic family will be his son Jakub Kubala. “He is now 14 years old and next year I will start playing Beach Volleyball tournaments with him.” The dream goes on.

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