FENCLOVA, from Prague, started sailing at the age of 7 at he Yacht Club Praha and progressed through the Cadet to the Europe. She started sailing on the Olympic Classes circuit in 2001 at the age of 20.
Her first three years were spent learning in the shadow of SMIDOVA, a veteran of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and the leading light in Czech sailing. Whilst her more senior team mate was stocking up her medal collection from major regattas around the world, FENCLOVA was steadily improving and beginning to show some form, particularly in the lake conditions she learnt to sail in and practiced on.
SMIDOVA's Europe career reached its pinnacle with a silver medal at the Athens Olympic Games, and following the switch from the Europe to the Laser Radial, she opted to move to the two person 470. SMIDOVA's switch left FENCLOVA as the Czech Republic's leading light in the Laser Radial, a position in which her sailing has flourished.
FENCLOVA declared 2006 as, 'The best year in my sailing career'. She finished fourth at the ISAF Grade 1 Sail Melbourne, in the top ten at both the ISAF Grade 1 Holland Regatta and ISAF Grade 1 Kiel Week and 11th at a highly competitive European Championship in Italy. Her consistent form was reflected in her ISAF World Sailing Ranking, with FENCLOVA holding a world top 20 spot for the entire year.
As one of 20 sailors receiving a scholarship from the IOC's Olympic Solidarity, FENCLOVA has been able to intensify her training, attend last year's Worlds in the USA and dedicate more resources to her help fulfil her Olympic dreams. She went to Israel to train with her coach Jakub KOZELSKY, who she explains is now playing a much more active role in her campaign, 'Two years ago I went everywhere alone and now I can travel with my coach more.'
With the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships and Olympic Qualification little over six months away, at the start of the year opportunity knocked.
Cue FENCLOVA. She and SMIDOVA went to the USA for the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR. With just two weeks training together in Miami, the pair came in eighth overall, winning the Medal Race and finishing within 11 points of the podium. After such a promising start together, FENCLOVA decided to say goodbye to the Laser Radial and her and SMIDOVA now have a busy scheduled leading up to the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Cascais, Portugal this July.
The next big regatta for the new pairing is the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy, before the ISAF Grade 1 all Olympic Class regattas in Hyeres and Medemblik leading up to the ISAF Worlds.
Twenty sailors selected for Olympic Solidarity scholarships for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Find out more at www.sailing.org/olympicsolidarity.