Brno Has An Olympic Standard Stadium

Not much is left of the Za Lužánkami sports facility, which used to be the envy of the whole of the Czech Republic. The winter sports stadium went to rack and ruin to such an extent that its ruins had to be demolished. The football stadium, which used to host up to forty thousand fans at the height of the Česká Zbrojovka football club era, is in a similar situation today. Only ambiguous property ownership relations to the surrounding plots of land stand in the way of its demolition and the possible construction of a new stadium one day. The Za Lužánkami swimming pool is not exactly new either, despite some recent remodelling. A new multipurpose sports hall, which was supposed to host the women's basketball world championship one year ago, is also still on the drawing board, so let us be grateful that in spite of this situation, Brno can be proud of one unique sports area.

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Following three years of reconstruction work the Pod Palackého vrchem sports facility of the Brno University of Technology (VUT), situated in beautiful natural surroundings, and now boasts a renovated athletic stadium which is unique in the Czech Republic. Its reconstruction conformed to the latest requirements of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF). These guidelines were strictly applied to the layout of the running tracks and also the areas for the jumping and throwing disciplines at the stadium, in addition the sports field's surfaces also respect these standards.

On a par with Beijing and London

Thanks to these parameters, the Pod Palackého vrchem athletic stadium obtained IAAF certification to host Class A athletic competitions. It is the same certification that the IAAF granted to the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing for the most recent Olympic Games and the athletics facilities for the upcoming Olympics in London. At present, the VUT stadium is the only Class 1 facility in the Czech Republic. Other Czech stadiums, such as the one in the town of Vítkovice which hosts the well-known Golden Spike (Zlatá tretra) race every year, are only Class 2 stadiums.

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Since this June, the VUT facilities have undergone three comprehensive tests – the Disabled Youth Games in late June/early July, the Men's and Women's Athletics CR Championship in July, and the European Athletics Week in September, which brought together almost 1,000 young competing athletes from all over Europe. Next year, 15 important events are planned at the Pod Palackého vrchem venue, the Czech Academic Games in July being probably the most significant of all of them. Reconstruction of the stadium cost a total of CZK 123 million, 25 million of which was contributed by the City of Brno authorities.

Alena Štěpánková
With VUT Brno materials


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