Kamil Haťapka

* 1932  

  • “As soon as we voted for it the second time, (voting for the CSFR dissolution, note ed.) then at the foyer of the National Assembly there was a big table with mineral water. Klaus went down, along with Mečiar, the originator of it all, and he stood opposite to me. I called the SNS members and told them: 'Listen well what I tell him (Klaus) now.' And so I said: 'Mr. Prime Minister, please, let me propose you honorary membership in the Slovak National Party.' He was completely surprised and asked me: 'Why?' I replied: 'Because you helped us to fulfill our election program.' And then all of us members went to sing the song Hey, Slovaks under the bust of General Štefánik.”

  • “ŠtB? Surely I am in the ŠtB's records! Of course, because I was always the leader of journeys abroad. We received a file from the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Union of Physical Education (ÚV ČSTV), comprising about eight or ten pages, where was in particular written what kind of action it was, where it was, who shall attend it, how much money we got for it here, how much there – it all had to be settled. And the last page was the most interesting: 'Relationships with the Czechoslovak citizens living abroad'. Imagine that I knew 22 top racers. Wherever we came, these racers, but also non-contestants, came to see us. And it was absolutely obvious, that when Hutyra came to see me, my former racer who had flown away in a balloon, I couldn't write I haven't met anyone. Thus I wrote there: 'I met with my former racer Róbert Hutyra, we had dinner together along with other racers. We debated about the situation in Czechoslovakia and situation in sport.' It was the truth. I couldn't say I hadn't seen anybody, since everybody had seen me, as well as all of my racers talked with them because they were friends. There was none of politics whatsoever. It was all about sport and we loved to see each other after half a year. It wasn't directly focused on my, but of course, they wrote about me. They had to send reports.”

  • “Since we were in Rome, I went to the embassy and they told me: 'Yeah, you did a great publicity to us. Comrade, please, sit down, what's new?' Well, I said: 'Look how many invitations I have here, and even working clubs are calling us to come and they're willing to pay for all, but we don't have an exit permit prolonged, we have to go home.' 'Just wait,' he looked at it and wrote a telegraph that related to a great representation of our country. He was requesting the Central Committee of the Czechoslovak Union of Physical Education ÚV ČSTV) to prolong us the exit permit. The next day I came and they (officials in Prague) affronted the ambassador as they never replied to him. But it was to our luck. The ambassador said: 'Silent gives consent, and I agree with that!' So he passed us all the stamps and extended us the stay in Italy since he was authorized to do that. (…) When we arrived home, the police waited for us yet at the borders. 'Excuse me, please, but here are all of our documents. We have everything settled.' They couldn’t do anything with it, but since I organized it all, I had prohibition to carry out any official trips abroad. Meanwhile, we had already settled start-up in Italy. I said to myself – why would it be that I cannot travel to Italy? I took my passport, exit permit, I changed the money and pretended to be traveling on my own. Of course I went with Inter. I came to the center and Rudy Žánek, leader of the Czechoslovak team, said: 'What are you doing here?' 'Don't worry, I made it.' He sold me out in Prague and reported I was there despite of the exit prohibition. They called a disciplinary commission on me which inquired about why I was there even though I was told not to travel. I told them: 'Just a moment, look, this is my private passport, exit permit and the money. I was on a private vacation.' 'But how come you were there?' 'I was waiting at the borders, trying to catch someone who could take me to Italy, and just imagine, the Inter microbus was driving around. So I stopped them and asked where they were going. They said: 'To Italy', and so I hopped on.' Just imagine, they nearly got a heart attack since I literally made fun of them.”

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    Bratislava, 28.10.2017

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I only agree with emigration, when one learns something abroad and returns home

Kamil Haťap.jpg (historic)
Kamil Haťapka
photo: Archív Haťapku

Kamil Haťapka was born on March 3, 1932 in Spišská Nová Ves. His father Andrej became a head of the post office in 1936, since when the family began living in the capital. From his youth, Kamil was keen on sports, at first as a hockey player, later as a cyclist, what he coached during his whole life. In 1961 he founded a Czechoslovak cycling club Inter Bratislava in Slovnaft Company, where he worked back then. Kamil Haťapka worked hard to become a top-ranking internationally respected coach. As a coach of the Czechoslovak cycling representation he earned two silver medals in World Championships of Leicester in 1970 and Giavera del Montello in 1985. He also took part in overall victory of Vlastimil Moravec at the Peace Race in 1972. Except that he was a head of the Slovak Cycling Federation as well as a director of popular cycling race called Tour of Slovakia. From 1989 until 1992 he worked in Mexico, where he founded the Pan-American Cycling Confederation. Under his leadership, the sportsmen gained in total 24 medals in Pan American and Central American Games. After retuning back to Czechoslovakia, he entered the politics as a member of the Slovak National Party (SNS). In 1992 he was appointed a Vice-Chairman of the Foreign Committee of the Chamber of Nations of the Federal Assembly of the Czechoslovak Federal Republic. He took part in parliamentary voting that decided about the dissolution of Czechoslovakia. In 1996 he joined diplomatic services and became a councilor of the Slovak Ambassador in Mexico. In years 2008 - 2010 he also featured as a member of the Board of Supervisors of the Slovak Olympic Committee. He lives in Bratislava.