Focus forges first Challenge Cup medal for Czech Republic’s Radomir Sliž

Written by John Crumlish for International Gymnast Online

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Radomir Sliz (second from left) celebrates his Challenge Cup medal with Czech team head coach Jaromir Labonek, Czech teammate Daniel Radovesnicky and Czech judge Jiri Urbanek. Photo courtesy of Radomir Sliž

Focus on physical conditioning, technical training and mental well-being helped forge Czech gymnast Radomir Sliž’s career-first Challenge Cup medal last month.

Sliž, a native of Trinec who turned 23 on August 1, earned bronze on pommel horse at the Challenge Cup of Mersin held October 7-9. That breakthrough substantially bettered his performances from earlier in the year that included 12th place on pommel horse in qualifications at the World Cup of Cottbus in February and 11th place on pommel horse in qualifications at the Challenge Cup of Szombathely held the week prior to the Challenge Cup of Mersin.

Sliž’s previous best finish in world championships, European championships, World Cup or Challenge Cup competitions was 43rd on pommel horse in qualifications at the 2021 Challenge Cup of Koper. He was 64th on pommel horse in qualifications at the 2018 Worlds in Doha, 56th on pommel horse in qualifications at the 2021 Worlds in Kitakyushu, and 49th on pommel horse in qualifications at this summer’s Europeans in Munich.

A student at the University of Ostrava, Sliž trains under coach Ondrej Janeczko, with additional coaching support from his father, Radomir Sliž Sr.

Sliž describes his recent improvements and details his agenda for future success in this International Gymnast Online interview.

IGO: What do you believe made your performance at the Challenge Cup of Mersin so much better than your previous ones, resulting in a medal?

RS: To start with, I think the biggest difference is that I was able to utilize the experience from the previous competitions on the world stage, I focused on proper nutrition and I worked on cleaning up my pommel horse routine. Another important thing that changed is my mental health, which I worked on extensively.

IGO: Prior to Mersin, you had never reached a World Cup or Challenge Cup final, and your results at the world championships and European championships were modest. What training steps did you make to improve your routine by such a large margin?

RS: I changed the structure of my training sessions. To start with, I modified my strength workouts which are now more specialized to support individual apparatus. Also I added additional conditioning training.

IGO: Looking ahead to 2023, what further changes or adjustments will you make to your pommel horse routine, so that you can perform even better at the European Championships in Antalya and the World Championships in Antwerp? 

RS: I am planning to add difficulty to the routine, although it’s important that I still perform the routine with as much cleanliness as possible.

IGO: Will you continue to train and compete on multiple apparatuses, or focus only on pommel horse going forward?

RS: I am currently focusing on pommel horse and I am not planning to change it. I am also practicing on parallel bars but the difficulty level is not reaching the level at which I could compete a the world-stage competitions yet.

IGO: Many people consider pommel horse to be one of the most difficult apparatuses, one that causes problems for many gymnasts. What makes you so good on pommel horse, physically and psychologically?

RS: I have to agree with you that it’s one of the most difficult apparatuses. I think that my body physique with my long arms is definitely one of the helpful factors. Also, when training during my youth, the pommel horse was the apparatus on which I excelled the most. Therefore it naturally was something I kept practicing the most and have gotten to where I am now. I think there is always something to improve or work on from the psychological point, and I would say I am good.

IGO: What steps do you think the Czech men’s team is already taking, or needs to take, to advance as a team in the world rankings?

RS: I think the Czech Gymnastics Federation is working hard and doing all they can to get the Czech gymnasts back to the world level. One of the biggest challenges there is, I think, is that gymnastics is not a well-known sport among the population, and therefore the training facilities are not in as high of a level as in countries where gymnastics is a popular sport.

IGO: Where you are in the progress of your studies, and what you wish to do professionally after you finish your gymnastics career?

RS: I am scheduled to be graduating in 2024 with a Bachelor’s degree in professional coaching, so hopefully everything will go as planned and I will be able to finish college. I am planning to represent the Czech Republic in gymnastics after I finish with the college degree for as long as I can. Looking more into the future, I am planning to utilize all the experience from my gymnastics career and also my education to help improve Czech gymnastics as s sport overall.

International Gymnast Online’s other recent features on Czech gymnasts include:

First-time World Cup medalist Lucie Trnkova: ‘I try to keep a cool head’

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