The Inseparable Duo: Knapkova and Her Coach Run for World Rowing Awards

Czech sculler Mirka Knapková has been shortlisted for this year's World Rowing Awards along with her coach, former lightweight sculler Tomáš Kacovský. They have been nominated in their categories of women's crews and coaches, respectively. The winners are due to be known on 11 November, the International Rowing Federation (FISA) has announced on its website.

As the Idnes.cz news website (affiliated with a broad circulation newspaper, Mladá fronta Dnes) wrote on 2 October, Knapková and Kacovský have been training together for eleven years. Within that period, they were also life partners for six years. That part of relationship broke up but their sport cooperation continues. “That was very demanding. At that moment, you must get clear what you want. It would have been easier to split up, say 'good-bye', and find another coach. But what was connecting us was that both of us wanted to achieve something in the sport. I believed that he as a coach is one of the best,” said Knapková to Idnes.cz.

The same news website quoted Knapková on 4 September as praising Kacovský for “looking for new incentives all the time”. One of them was the engagement of a sport psychologist – not for the athlete but for the coach himself, something that Knapková proposed, initially maybe half-jokingly. This year's world and European champion in women's single, Knapková says about her coach: “He is with me practically 24 hours a day and I sense his temper. Every coach passes his nervousness on to the athlete. When the coach is nervous, the athlete can feel it. It definitely helped me [to get a psychologist for the coach]: when I felt he was calm, I too went to the start line more relaxed.”

(UPDATE: The FISA announced on its website on 11 November that the Greek lightweight women's double scull, Christina Giazitzidou and Alexandra Tsiavou, have been chosen as the 2011 World Rowing Female Crew of the Year. The World Rowing Award for the year's best coach also goes to Greece, namely its national team's Italian coach Gianni Postiglione. Аs for Mirka Knapková, she was selected as the 2011 Czech Best Rowing Crew in a poll organised annually by the Czech Rowing Association. The results were announced in a ceremony in Prague on 12 November.

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