Combination of sports and university studies. UWB will support 17 top athletes this year

Sport Study Press Release

The UNIS Scholarship Program of the Czech Ministry of Education and the VICTORIA VSC Sports Center has been assisting students since 2020.
Female hockey players, handball players, and a skier are the newest members of the UNIS scholarship program at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen (ZČU). On Wednesday, February 14, they introduced themselves to the rest of the team at the Faculty of Education (FPE). This year, for the first time, the project management also invited high school students interested in studying at ZČU. The UNIS program allows students to combine class schedules with sports training, matches, or competitions. The most successful students receive monthly scholarships of up to 15,000 Czech crowns.

Hockey players Alexandra and Sandra Halounova are sisters, twins; one is studying political science at the Faculty of Arts, the other law at the Faculty of Law. Both significantly contributed last year to winning a bronze medal in ice hockey at the 2023 Winter World University Games in Lake Placid, USA, where they were sent by Czech University Sports Association. This performance has placed them in the UNIS scholarship program for the first time this year.

"There was tough competition, and it was really a high-level event. But we also play tennis and participated in the Academic Championships in doubles, which we won," the sisters complement each other. "We try to adjust sports more to our studies than studying to sports," say Alexandra and Sandra Halounova.

The Ministry of Education (MŠMT) and the VICTORIA VSC sports center program currently includes 17 female students and students at ZČU, with the Center for Physical Education and Sports of the Faculty of Education overseeing it at the university. "The basic criterion is when a student has a clear participation in the project, achieving at least the level of European championships in junior categories or higher," says Václav Salcman, the main coordinator of the project at ZČU and a lecturer at the Faculty of Education (FPE).

Not only does the university help athletes manage demanding training schedules, but teachers also want to see academic results. "We appeal to athletes not to leave credits and exams until the last minute. Fulfilling academic obligations is a condition for participation in the program and receiving a scholarship," explains Dean Pavel Mentlík of FPE.

Athletes must defend their place in the program every year. This year, Paralympic swimmer Vendula Dušková succeeded again: "I can do what I do. This season will be extremely demanding, both in terms of time and financially," said the para-swimmer at the athletes' meeting, who greeted participants via video call and will also represent the Czech Republic and ZČU at the upcoming Paralympic Games in Paris.

The amount of the scholarship that UNIS members are entitled to varies according to their performance in five performance categories – from 15,000 crowns for category A to 5,000 in category E. In addition to the scholarship, top athletes among students can also use the services of a psychologist, nutritionist, or physiotherapist.

Compared to last year, the number of supported students decreased by two after the Ministry of Education reduced the project's funding. "The ministry is currently reducing funds across the country. We have to deal with it somehow; we have already reduced staff to preserve money for students to the maximum extent possible," adds Václav Salcman.

Last year, the scholarship program also included world archery champion Marie Horáčková, but she reached the age of 26 and had to officially leave UNIS. However, she will continue to be supported by the VICTORIA VSC sports center as she is still a student at the Faculty of Education. UNIS has been helping to reconcile both careers since 2020, and ZČU has been part of it from the very beginning. The MŠMT program currently involves a total of 26 universities.


Vendula Dušková, Faculty of Education, para-swimming
Helena Klailová, Faculty of Education, sports shooting – sports and air pistol

Lucie Drozdová, Faculty of Education, handball
Adéla Holubová, Faculty of Health Care Studies, cycling
Kristýna Königová, Faculty of Education, handball
Alexandra Halounová, Faculty of Arts, ice hockey
Sandra Halounová, Faculty of Law, ice hockey
Šárka Kapusniaková, Faculty of Economics, handball
Nikola Melicharová, Faculty of Health Care Studies, handball
Linda Suchá, Faculty of Education, long jump, triple jump
Lucie Zavadilová, Faculty of Economics, athletics – sprint
Martina Zikmundová, Faculty of Economics, archery (compound bow)

Kristýna Hejkalová, Faculty of Education, handball
David Jodl, Faculty of Economics, long jump, triple jump
Barbora Tichá, Faculty of Education, discus throw
Daniel Varga, Faculty of Law, wrestling – Greco-Roman
Petra Vitáková, Faculty of Economics, cross-country skiing



Andrea Čandová (translated by ChatGPT)

15. 02. 2024