From Prague to Lugano... with a triple jump!
Servizio relazioni internazionali e mobilità
21 Dicembre 2021
Hi Zdeněk, could you please introduce yourself (where do you come from, what are you studying, how long are you staying at USI,...)?
My name is Zdeněk Kubát, I am a student of Business and administration at Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague and for the year 2021/2022, as a part of the SEMP programme, I am studying the first year of my master’s degree in Management here at Università della Svizzera italiana. But at the same time, I am an athlete (specialized in triple jump) in service of Czech professional army sports center Dukla Prague (you can connect Dukla for example with javelin world record holders - Barbora Špotáková and Jan Železný).
Why did you choose USI?
To be fully honest, I have always seen myself more in the USA taking part in NCAA competitions and enjoying this sports environment, but like many others, the pandemic of Covid-19 changed my plans. At least temporarily I decided to stay in Europe and take my chance in my favorite country, Switzerland. And then after other students and my home university recommendation, online reviews, and obviously photos of Lugano I decided on USI and I think, I made a good choice.
What are the main differences between your home university and USI?
I do not really like comparisons, whether because I do not want to inadvertently touch any of the universities, but also because I have not spent much time at my home university in recent years (Covid-19, individual study plan), so my opinions could be distorted. But I am really enjoying this experience, a new perspective, and challenges provided by USI. I would definitely like to study longer here.
As for sports opportunities, it is quite similar, maybe at my home university, it is a little less organized (not as here Sport elite program). But we also have the possibility to spread the study, have an individual study plan, and also for certain performance are given sports scholarships (however, this does not apply to members of professional clubs, so pity for me…).
We know that you are an athlete. Have you found the ideal conditions to continue your training? Through which contacts?
Yes… my dominant discipline is a triple jump with a personal best of 16,24 m.
According to the conditions…. If we consider the goal I came here with, then yes. Last year I was injured many times, so I decided to slow down a bit, recover properly my body, try to do things differently, and gain new motivation. Of course that Lugano and USI cannot provide me same hinterland with all those physiotherapists, doctors, and other following additions as a professional club, but for now, I do not need them. The general winter preparation for the triple jump does not require much, for me the most important at this moment is to have an athletic stadium, park (or other natural places to train), and the gym. These are the requirements that Lugano with an overview meets. The heavier part will occur in the spring when the technical part of the preparation begins. But that is tomorrow’s problem, I will figure it out later, probably with help of the local team or the one in Como.
I need to say big thanks to Giorgio Piffaretti, with whom I was in contact already before arriving in Lugano, we had a video call during which we discussed the local possibilities and my visions regarding athletics. He also contacted the local athletic club and then referred me to them. Also, really nice gestures and help came after my arrival, when the new SUPSI gym was not completely finished: the Sports team let me train there not to miss a single training session.
Have you made friends with other athletes studying at USI (perhaps as part of the Sport elite programme)?
Not really… I have only recently been introduced to this programme and because and since it does not apply to exchange students, I did not pay so far attention to it. However, from the beginning, I was in contact with the local athletic club and tried to integrate there. Basically, it was not very successful, mainly because of time management and the fact that the vast majority of the members were much younger, therefore most of the sessions I completed alone. Maybe it is time to try it differently in the second semester because I really miss a training group, but we will see…