#BeActive Awards 2019: René Cehlár – Danish nominee for the Local Hero category


The #BeActive Awards is the European Commission’s recognition of outstanding work and commitment at local levels to promote sport and physical activity in Europe. The competition is an integral part of the annual European Week of Sport. One of the three categories is the #BeActive Local Hero Award, which honours an individual achievement to motivate others and act as a catalyst to #BeActive.

The International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA) as the National Coordinating Body for EWOS in Denmark is entitled to submit the Danish nominations for the #BeActive Awards. To determine the nominee for Local Hero category an open call was announced.

We have already told you about quidditch as a real kind of sport in our world of muggles. You have even a chance to experience it by joining one of the Quidditch Copenhagen training sessions taking place in partnership with the European Week of Sport Denmark – check the events’ calendar.

Our nominated #BeActive Local Hero is René Cehlár, founder and president of Quidditch Copenhagen.

René’s quidditch journey began in Slovakia three years ago, where he was a beater in their national team. After moving to Copenhagen, where there were no opportunities to play this sport, René founded Quidditch Copenhagen together with Amanda Qvesel in March 2018.

“Straight after moving to Denmark to study here I started to look into options to play quidditch, but it was pretty much a country untouched by this sport. It took me a while until I found the courage to get something going. I started with finding the necessary equipment: brooms, hoops, balls. Soon I saw Amanda’s post in a student sport dedicated group on Facebook. She was introduced to quidditch in Australia during her exchange semester and was wondering if there are opportunities in Copenhagen to continue. We met and soon announced the first-ever Quidditch Copenhagen practice,” René tells.

A little over a year after the club’s establishment, René managed not only to form a sport team but to create a community where everyone feels welcomed. Inspired by René, one of the main goals of the club is to promote diversity and to fight prejudice, giving everyone opportunities to #BeActive, have fun and make new friends, regardless of age, nationality, neurodiversity, fitness level and sexual orientation. Quidditch Copenhagen collaborates with both the Erasmus Student Network (ESN) and the LGBTQAIP+ community.

A key strength of quidditch is that because it originates from a pop culture franchise, it not only attracts sport lovers but also book and movie lovers. This means that quidditch motivates a segment that might otherwise have no interest in traditional ways to #BeActive. This also means that the competencies of the players vary tremendously: from former athletes to players who have never played a sport before.

“The sport itself is very welcoming. Everyone can join and find their role in the team. There are many ways to play the game: you can play strategically or physically, and we are always very happy to introduce new people to our sport and to extend our community,” René says.

“I study with Amanda, so I have known that the quidditch team exists, but first I was afraid to join. I’d never tried it before and, sportwise, if I was attending a gym twice a month it was already a lot, so I was super out of shape. But then I attended one of the trainings. It looked fun and I decided to give it a try. I felt immediately welcomed and a part of the team despite the fact that I was a very bad player. Now my strength is still poor but we have workout Wednesdays so I can work on improving it. René showed me some exercises what I can do and he always finds the right ones that fit me, so I can catch up with the fitness level. I even started to run. I get up at 6 am to go for a run, I never imagined before that I am able to do it! So quidditch motivated me to #BeActive," Katharina tells.

Quidditch Copenhagen training sessions take place almost every Sunday from 5 to 7 pm in Fælledparken, behind Trafiklegepladsen. During the winter season training is moved indoors. The unusual and spectacular activity attracts a lot of attention.

“We were just walking around the park when we saw the training and decided to join. We were immediately introduced to the game and started playing. It is a lot of fun and we enjoy the game and friendly atmosphere,” Karman and Adithya said after their first-ever quidditch training session.

“My biggest achievement is all these people who come to the training, their eagerness to improve and grow in this sport. It makes me happy and proud that we managed to create this community. And I am very thankful and honoured to be nominated as a #BeActive Local Hero, but it is the merit of the entire team,” René says.

Check out the Quidditch Copenhagen Facebook page to learn more about the club and the upcoming practices.

The winners of 2019 #BeActive Awards will be announced at the official ceremony in Budapest, European Capital of Sport 2019, on 18 October.

By Irina Coreachina, ISCA
Photos by Marie Oleinik and Quidditch Copenhagen