(Čelákovice) Last season will be written in Čelákovice’s chronicle in brozne print. Constantly high sports form without any big mistakes brought local Spartak Čelákovice a participation in semi-final battles and after that even a win of the third place and bronze medal in Czech extraligue. But there is still one thing everyone will remember even more… Čelákovice managed to bring excellent players from South Korea to the Czech courts and made them a part of Spartak’s team! Start of Koreans players in the Czech highest league and also 2nd (second) Czech league catched up a lot of attention, much more bigger than is usual in Czech‘s Futnet leagues and it was all watched by a very high number of fans and also media.
,,If we overlook a loss of the points, that was our mistake, then our team thinks about the project ,,Working2Gether‘‘as 100% positive. Korean players shown, that if they trained Futnet another six months, they would be a top players. Only thing the missed a little bit is the ,,perfect Futnet thinking‘‘, but gaining that takes a lot of time.‘‘ says one of Čelakovice’s mojor stars, captain MARTIN FLEKAČ.
He and his team together in autumn also visited South Korea and they tried local Jokgu – Korean National sport, which is quite close to Futnet. ,,We found new friends and we strengthen our team bonds.‘‘ says happily and gratefully Flekač about this long-distanced trip. Just during the visit in Korea, Čelákovice’s players got another novel (original) idea – to organize a Jokgu tournament in Czech republic! ,,It wouldn’t be us, if we didn’t try to do something new,‘‘ says Martin Flekač - Frigo with a smile on his face.
How are preparations of this, for Europe, very unique action going? Which celebrity may be a patron of it? And will we see Korean players in the Czech extraligue this year again? If you want to know the answers for this questions and many other interesting things, don’t miss the following interview!
Martin, what is the main motivation in organizing a tournament in Jokgu in Czech Republic? Are you trying to propagate Jokgu, connect Futnet and Jokgu more or is it just a marketing move?
When we were in Korea, our friends from there were telling us jokgu is an easy sport, but it really isn’t and we want the Czech players to have an opportunity to try Jokgku on their own.
Before we get to the planned tournament, let’s talk about position of Jokgu in its home country. You visited Korea, so what position has Jokgu there? How popular is it? Does it often appear in the media? Try to compare it to Futnet in our counry.
I think that there are some similarities. Jokgu is a national sport in Korea, same as Futnet in Czech Republic. But both sports aren’t the most popular ones in its countries. There are about 10 TOP tournaments of Jokgu inKorea that are recorded by Korean nanational sports television KBS.
By the available informations, Jokgu is played by thousands of people in Korea. Is it true?
Once, when we were passing quite a great distance in Korea, we stopped in the parking lot of some local big firm. A moment after that, a group of Koreans came here, straightened a rope between the cars and started playing Jokgu. The level of game really wasn’t good, but it reminded me of a classic Czech futnet played just for fun.
What is the structure and functions in Jokgu?
Functions in Jokgu are quite similar to the ones in Futnet. They have the Presindet of Jokgu, secretary, the Board of Directors of referees and various committees. Everything logically in bigger numbers.
How is the competition system?
There aren’t any leagues. Everything is played in tournament form. Tournaments are classified by levels A, B+, B, C+ and C. There are about 10-15 ,,A‘‘ tournaments per year. The best teams in the categories can move to a better level (better category). But Korean players really liked our structure of competition and they woud also like to go this way and have a jokgu league.
You played several tournaments here too. Did you also played against the TOP Jokgu players? And how many fans are comming to Jogku tournaments?¨
The first part of our group came to Korea on the 3rd November 2017 and immediately after – on the 5th November 2017 there was ,,A level‘‘ tournament. Despite we were taught by a legend and trainer of Jokgu, we weren’t able to learn all the strategy and game elements in such a short time. Janko Kilík, Michal Kolenský, Vojtěch Holas and Radek Šafr unfortunately didn’t won any set during this tournament. Me (Flekač) and Martin Spilka played for the team ,,Working2Gether‘‘ with two Korean players. Due to a good attack, we managed to win one set against the team, that eventually ended od the 3rd place. About 350 fans came to this tournament. At the end of our holiday we played ,,B level‘‘ tournament and ended on the first and the second place. There were about 200 fans.
Are local TOP players at least a half-professionals? Or they only play Jokgu after their jobs, like Futnet players in Czech Republic?
You can find some players that have Jokgu as a part-time job in ‚,A category‘‘. But its definitely not a full-job.
Is Jokgu played in other countries of this region? Or is it strictly a South Korean sport?
It isn’t strictly a South Korean sport. We know there are some small organizations of Jokgu in China, Vietnam, America and we think that also in Japan.
The Winter Olympics in South Korea is approaching. Will local organization of Jokgu somehow use this gigantic event to propagate Jokgu?
We didn’t get any information about that during our visit in Korea. But together with Martin Spilka and our Korean friend we are probably going to visit the Olympics, so after that we can give you a feedback.
How much does Jokgu players know about Futnet?
In 2012 - when Korean players participated in the Futnet World Championship in Nyburk for the firts time, lot of people in Korea judged them for going to try ,,some Futnet‘‘ when they have their Jokgu. Now 80% of Jokgu players know Futnet and also Čelíkovice! Jokgu players closely watched project ,,Working2Gether‘‘ and their Korean brothers while they were playing in our extraligue.
The rules of Jokgu don’t allow fights over the net. I think the game is a little bit humdrum thanks to that. What are by your opinion the biggest tactic and playing deifferences between Jokgu and Futnet? What was the biggest problem for you?
In Jokgu you can’t play with your body from kness to chin. You also can’t exceed to the other side of the net with any part of your body. (The referee once even whistled/penalized Janko Kylík for exceed with his nose J ). If you score a point stright from the service without the opponents touching the ball, or them touching it with the wrong part of the body – it’s for 2 points. Jokgu is also played with smaller and lighter ball. The court is more narrow, with bigger space around it. That are the main differences. We had the biggest problem with ballons kicked from the swing with not so much strenght to the center of the court. By Jokgu tactic this ballons must be catched by the player standing closer to the net, not by the players in back of the court, because they guard another part of the court. We also played some friendly-mathes on artificial grass or in a hall and ballons slided here quite a lot.
If you trained Jokgu regularly in Čelákovice, would you be able to play like a top Jokgu players in some shorter period of time?
The closest to that are Janko Kylík, Vojtěch Holas and even if it may be surprising also Radek Šafr, who was good on pass, helping with smash (smetch) and had a good position standing.
Could Futnet inspire with something from Jokgu?
There are many interestinf things thay may be worth thinking about. We liked the way Korean players enjoy the game. They make a show from it, as you could see od the Championships. But still one team has a great respect for another and referees. Everytime some player smetches and the ball touches the net, the player apologizes and bows to another team. Also their getting on the court at the beginning of the match is nice to watch for fans – they exchange greetings and shake hands with the referees. They don’t have service line. Why service cloudn’t be an advantage?
Will Korean players appear in the Czech extraligue again this year?
We are thinking about it. We know that there will be a tournament of three countries (France, Korea and Czech Republic) in Sete on the 2nd June 2018. After this event. we would like to take some Korean Representation players to Čelákovice and engage them them into our highest male league again, because project ,,Working2Gether‘‘ proveded itself to be good.
Let’s get to the Jokgu tournament in Čelákovice that you are prepairing. When and where will it be held? For who is it specified and how many teams will play here?
The IGGEE SUMMER JOKGU tournament will be held during summer holisays, exactly on the 14th July 2018 (Saturday). The date doesn’t intersect with any other big event like Merida, Šacung or Jedličkov Open. We are planning to have 2 categories here – Profi and Amateur. So really everyone can come, play and try Jokgu. We would like to have here at least 40 teams.
Are you prepairing any special rules?
The rules will be exactly the same as if we played Jokgu. We will play on court with Jokgu proportions, with about 7 meters of space around it. Because of that, this grand action will be held on tennis courts or a football field in Čelákovice. We will prepare 6 courts. We will play with calssic Jogku ball and here will also be Korean referees.
A grant of this tournament is really generous…
A budget of this action is truly hight. We want to put 110 000 Kč (Crowns) in financial prizes. The general partner of the tournament is Korean firm IGGEE, that specializes on car accessories and that will give materiál prizes worth 90 000 Kč. Then there will be Sportswear from firm JOYKICC worth 40 000 Kč. We also hope for support from our local sponsors.
What is the main difference in prepairing a Jokgu tournament and not a Futnet one?
Prepairing the Jokgu tournament is quite different and much more complicated. Because we need big space around the courts, we will have to hold the tournament on tennis courts. There we have to prepare complete service for the players and also the fans. Different lines on the court, food stalls and other things. We also have to prepare propozitions in more languages, because we want to bring here teams from more countries than just Czech Republic.Whit that alsou comes accommodation of players Then we have to provide a transportation for the Korean referees. I think that are the bacis things we have to do, but there will be much more to prepare. We discussed all preparations connected with the city Čelákovice with the city Council. They agreed to help us and found Commision for thistournament. This Commision will help us with preparations and also realization of the tournament.
Do you have informations about participation of formations from South Korea?
Yes. For us, that is one of the most important things for this tournament. What tournament in Jokgu would it be, if the best ones didn’t play it? Korean male and junior representation shoud come. We alsou have promised participation of other Korean team led by our Korean playmate, who played for Čelákovice last year. We believe, that if we make propositions, posters and trailers, it is possible that more players will come. We are aware, that Korean players won’t come just for one day and together with city Čelákovice we are prepairing program for two or three days. (trips and other).
For exaple, what about Slovakia or other European countries?
We asked Slovakia players about the tournament in the interviews on ,,The Last Smetch Tournament‘‘ (Poslední smeč) and they promised, that if the tournament won’t intersect with any other big Futnet event., the will come.
For sure, you will want to bring as many fans as possible. Can they look forward just to Jokgu, or will there be any more culture range? (Celebrities, Asian culture, food…)
We belive that only Jokgu and sports performances from foreign teams will bring a lot of people, who will want to see this event. in Čelákovice. When we are organizing this, Korean referees, I talked about before, can’t be missing too. At last, but not least there will also be korean food for symbolic prizes. All mentioned ascpects shoul help us feel like we are in South Korea. And if even this isn’t enough … the whole action should be moderated by former referee Pavlín Jirků. The team of the Worlds Champions in Small Fotball under the leadership of Luděk Zelenka will play in the Amateur category and we are working to have Tomáš Rosický as the patron of this event.
Will you propagate this event in media?
The most important person through media in our club is one men – Martin Spilka. And he really prepared a lot. We are planning to visit TV program ,,Morning with Nova‘‘ (Snídaně s Novou) again, we are discussing with Nova Spors TV to stream live since the semifinals matches. Thanks to Michal Dusík we would like to get in programm ,,Few words‘‘ (Na slovíčko). We have a deal with local radio stations like BEAT, KISS DELTA and SIGNAL. Zdeněk Musil with his YOUTUBE chanel ,,Nohejbal TV‘‘ will surely be here too! I hope i didn’t forget about antyhing.
Naturally, there are also some critics – talking about the possibility of Jokgu becoming popular in European countries and compete with Futnet one day… What is your opinion on that?
A little competition doesn’t hurt anything. But I don’t think we can even really talk about competition here. We are planning this action to try something new, get to know Asian culture better and to have a big event. If people will like it and we will get good feedbacks, we may organize the tournament again. But some more working with this sport, at least for me, don’t really come to mind.
We also heard that Korea plans a Futnet event in their country. Can you tell us something more about that?
This was one of the terms. We will organize a Jokgu tournament in Czech Republic and Korean side will prepare a tournament in Futnet in their country. We want to promote Futnet in Korea too. We will definitely send on team of players from Čelákovice and then a ,,Working2Gether‘‘ team composed from 2 Czech players and 2 Korean players.
Finally – a little tip. Try to name some Czech league players, who you think are going to be ,,Czech Jokgu stars‘‘.
With experiences from Korea, I believe that the top ones won’t be our best smetchers like Jan Vanke, Jiří Doubrava, Jakub Pospíšil or Jan Brutovský. With their style of playing I guess Jan Kilík, brothers Jiří and Zdeněk Kalous, brothers Tomáš and Jakub Chadim and of cource František Kalas.