Two-time Paralympic Champion Drahoninsky at worlds on home soil

David Drahoninsky

David Drahoninsky and para archery go hand-in-hand in the Czech Republic.

This week at the World Archery Para Championships in Pilsen, the two-time Paralympic Champion will compete for a world title on home soil.

“I’m very happy that the championships are being held in the Czech Republic this year,” says the 41-year-old, who competes in the W1 category for more impaired athletes. “I hope my best friends will come prepared as well as possible.”

Neither this city nor the country is new to hosting major events in this sport. Nove Mesto regularly hosts para world ranking events and Drahoninsky finished second at a European Championships held here in Pilsen 2018.

“I’m happy because so many of my friends will come to support me at the final range,” says David, showing off his trademark confidence. The Tokyo winner has a few days of competition to pass through before securing a finals berth.

This week’s medal matches will take place in the centre of Pilsen’s old town.

“Any final would be something special,” he says. “It was the same in 2018, and it was amazing.”

“We got gold in the mixed team [then] and I won silver individually. But now I’m better than in 2018.”

Since first winning the Paralympic Games in Beijing in 2008, five years after his international debut, David has been one of the largest (and winningest) athletes on the circuit.

He won the worlds in 2015 – and over the last four editions of the championships, has climbed the W1 podium three times.

But the renowned Czech para archer is eager to return to the top step of the world podium and break the eight-year victory drought in front of his home crowd. 

“For me, it’s nice because there are a lot of good people here and everyone says, ‘David, you’re a legend’,” he says. “I’m not so old, but it’s a very nice feeling.”

“I know what is hidden behind these words. I’ve worked the last 20 years so hard, but I love archery, and I wish everyone a sport or other passion that gives happiness.”

As well as the world title, Drahoninsky will look to book a ticket to a fifth consecutive Paralympic Games this week in Pilsen. There are 78 tickets on offer this week at the championships.

“We’ll see. It’s open,” he says. “I have to do what I can to show my best archery.”

Should he make it through, finals in the W1 category will take place on Sunday morning.