Prague, Oct 28 (CTK) – President Miloš Zeman gave the Medal of Merit to ice hockey star Jaromir Jágr, photographer Jan Saudek, Serb film director Emir Kusturica and interwar female car racer Eliška Junková at the ceremony on the national holiday today.
The list of the record 42 laureates includes athletes, artists, scientists, doctors, businesspeople and politicians.
In the sphere of culture and art, this was the Chinese Bohemian studies scholar Xu Weizhu, singer Josef Zima, photographer Saudek, film director Kusturica, painter Kamil Lhotak, the director of the National Museum, Michal Lukes, and military historian Jiri Rajlich.
Zeman decorated again the people who are close to him, such as Petr Martan, a failed candidate to the Senate for the former Citizens Rights Party, and his doctors Jaroslav Madunicky, Josef Podstata and Lubos Petruzelka.
Observers say Vladimir Plasil, the founder of the company Alta, which manufacturers machine tools and mining equipment for former Soviet Union countries, is also close to Zeman.
Zeman was also backed in the presidential election by the best Czech freestyle motorcycle racer Libor Podmol.
In the sphere of science, Zeman decorated chemist Jan Masat, obstetrician Antonin Dolezal and philosopher Helena Haskovcova.
Along with Jágr, Zeman decorated female car racer Junková from interwar Czechoslovakia.
Zeman also gave awards to Milan Pernica for his life-long work with trail blazing and chief designer of the Skoda Favorit car Petr Hrdlicka.
Zeman also decorated former senator and advisor to president Vaclav Klaus as well as security analyst Jan Schneider.
In the sphere of economy, he awarded businessman Rudolf Ovcari and financier Jan Struz.