Introducing the main partner – Czech Disc Golf Association and interview with its chairman – Petr Tanka

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The main partner of this year’s European Championship is the Czech Disc Golf Association (CADG). The CADG is a registered association that dates back to 2011. It was established to bring disc golf players throughout the country a place to come together to represent the best interests of the sport, organize the Czech Disc Golf League, and to promote disc golf to the general public.

In the past, the Czech Flying Disc Association (ČALD) ensured the operation of all sports involving a flying disc. This changed in 2019, however, when the ČALD changed into an umbrella organization for these sports, namely ultimate frisbee, freestyle frisbee and disc golf. Now each of these sports has a proportional representation in ČALD according to the number of its members. The CADG itself underwent a large change in 2019 when it adopted new statutes. Most importantly, they asserted that the main coordinators of events will be clubs and not individual players. In 2021, the logo of the association was changed and a new website is currently under construction.

Hi Petr, thanks for sitting down with me today! First things first, could you tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in disc golf?

Hi Petr, thanks for having me! My name is Petr Tanka and I fell in love with disc golf sometime in 2014. I was living in Opava at the time, and they had just finished a new course there. My friend Lubka and I tried it with a few other friends and ever since then, disc golf has been a major part of my life, whether it’s on the course or working with the CADG. I’d heard about disc golf long before that, though, maybe as far back as 2003. I was looking for a sport or activity that I could do, and while browsing the Internet, I came across disc sports. The problem was that back then I didn’t have any courses nearby, so I went and bought an Ultimate disc instead and took it to the park to throw around with some friends. Even though it never really turned into an organized team thing, I still have the disc.

When you first got the offer to take part in an event as big as the European Disc Golf Championships, did you take your time thinking about it or did you jump right in?

Krystof, Premek, and I first discussed the EDGC several years ago. But it was clear that if the tournament was going to increase awareness of disc golf like we wanted, we would need to raise a lot of funding. When we finally decided that the CADG would work with Prodiscgolf.cz to put on the European Championships, I knew that I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

In an earlier article about the team of organizers, I mentioned that you are mainly responsible for the financial side of the tournament. What was the biggest problem for you in deciding how to distribute money?

Probably the hardest part is planning an event and preparing grant applications without any guarantees of getting anything. You need to study the conditions for using the funds, the limits for individual budget items, and so much more. This makes preparing the project very time-consuming. I also try to make real use of every bit of funding we get, instead of just making sure the money gets spent on whatever. For last year’s European Championships, which ended up postponing, we applied for funding from the Ministry of Education. Since 2019, however, events like this one are overseen by the newly formed National Sport Agency. This changed was accompanied by others, especially in terms of allocating subsidies, submitting applications, and, above all, announcing programs. This made it necessary for us to prepare the subsidy application again, along with a revised budget. This type of work is always stressful for me, since it makes me responsible for a relatively large amount of money. The total budget of the tournament exceeds 3 mil. CZK and it’s my job to use these funds in accordance with what we have committed to in projects for the institutions and tournament partners.

What else are you in charge of at the EDGC?

In addition to being responsible for funding, I will be the Assistant Director for the EDGC and EJDGC Tournaments. I will be helping to prepare some side events and I will definitely be available for anything urgent that needs immediate attention.

In addition to co-organizing such a time-consuming event, you have a regular job and are also chairman of the CADG. As if that weren’t enough, you’ve also got a 3mo daughter at home. How do you keep up with it all? Where’s your cape, Superman? (laughs)

I’m definitely not Superman, otherwise I would be able fly (laugh). Rozálka’s birth brought many new things into my life and I now have to plan my free time very carefully. It’s worth mentioning that the CADG is lucky to have a number of other capable members on its executive board that are devoting more time to running the association than I can.

Tell us more about your role at the CADG. What’s it like working there?

I probably wouldn’t call it work. For me, it’s more like a mission. Participating in tournaments has let me meet a lot of amazing people and over time I felt the need to somehow return that energy I’d been saving. But back to the question. I take care of funding, subsidies, a part of representation and since June 2019, I have represented the CADG on the executive board of the CALD (umbrella organization).

You are already at the head of the CADG, if I am not mistaken, and this is your second term at it. Are you considering running again or leaving this position to someone else?

This is the third, actually. I was elected to the board of directors at the end of 2016 and I have been chairman since then. Lately, I have a feeling that the organization is ready to take another step forward under the guidance of someone new, with new ideas and fresh enthusiasm. In addition, I want to focus more on my family and dedicate my free time to our daughter. For these reasons, I don’t plan to run in the next elections.

Do you have any vision of what CADG should look like and what is needed to make it happen?

In my opinion, it is important for most members to realize that they are the ones who form the CADG and can shape and move it. No one can expect that the small group of people who make up the board of directors has the potential to solve everything on its own. We must work together to create something we can all be proud of. And by that I mean the CADG. Another important thing is to raise public awareness of the sport and the association itself. The best way to do this is through funding, which needs to be gathered from outside sources.

I asked Krystof, I will ask you as well. This year’s player list is a long one. Any favourites among them?

Absolutely, and I believe this Championship will be a successful one for the Czech team. That said, I don’t want to name any names and put unfair pressure on our players.

The last question will also be the same, what are you looking forward the most this year?

It would be nice to say that I’m looking forward to the end of the weekend, because that would mean the end of the work involved. Unfortunately for me, that’s not the case—my responsibilities end sometime in January of next year when all the billing for the subsidies is finished. At the same time, it would be a shame to look forward to the end and let the amazing four days of the tournament at this beautiful location in Konopiště slip through my fingers.

Thank you for the interview and I look forward to seeing you all soon in Konopiště!

The joint EDGF 2021 European Disc Golf Championship, European Masters Disc Golf Championship and European Junior Disc Golf Championship is organized by ČADG with the support of the following partners: NSA, Středočeský kraj, Discmania, Kostka Stav s.r.o., proDiscgolf.cz, město Benešov, Discgolfpark, Lesy ČR a.s., PDGA, EDGF, and Kofola a.s. We are grateful to all sponsors.