© Jakub Markech


OCCUPATION: Senior Vice President Quotations at HOCHTIEF CZ, Prag

MISSION: Doing the heavy lifting on new projects

Ten years ago, Michal Takács could never have imagined being enthusiastic about weightlifting. Back then, he was a 23-year-old construction engineering student and had no idea what the future had in store for him. But then a friend of his opened a sports studio, and Takács began to do CrossFit, a quick and tough fitness program that combines various elements including sprinting, strength training, and weightlifting. He soon dropped the sprinting, because it didn’t suit him. But he enjoyed weightlifting, as did some of his friends, so they started to train together. “In the beginning it was very amateurish. We trained with the help of YouTube videos,” says Takács, who is now 33.

Weightlifting is not a popular sport in the Czech Republic. There were no weightlifting trainers or clubs, in spite of the sport’s long tradition in this country. But Takács aspired to get better at it and compete with others. The friends did some research and found a club in a small town that let them join its third league—the lowest one in the amateur category. All of them are now striving to place in the top half of the league ratings. If things keep going as well as they have been, that’s only a question of time—because all of them are ambitious. 

Weightlifting has real parallels with his job at HOCHTIEF CZ, says Takács, who is the Senior Vice President in charge of Quotations. Here too, his aim is to move in new directions. His main responsibility is to acquire new contracts for the company. That’s not easy in a country in which the construction industry has been under high competitive pressure for years. The job is correspondingly tough. “But when I’m lifting heavy weights, I feel relieved of this inner pressure. It’s a very liberating activity,” he says. And every additional kilo he heaves aloft motivates him even more—because every time he does it, he surpasses himself.