Gold, gold, silver: A weekend of victory for Czech athletics

It proved to be an exciting weekend for the world of Czech athletics, as the country collected three medals, two of them gold in men’s basketball, archery, and ice hockey.

The 31st FISU World University Games wrap up today in Chengdu, China. The 12 day competition brings student athletes from all over the world together to compete in a number of sports and athletic categories.

On Sunday night Czechia took the gold medal home in men’s basketball. The squad defeated Brazil in a nail biting 69-67 win.

Top scorer Jan Zidek hit a game high record scoring 24 points and snatching 9 rebounds for Czechia, and Martin Svoboda followed with another nine points to seal the gold medal for the team.

It is the first medal in more than 35 years for Czech basketball.

Adding another piece of gold armoury to Czechia’s collection was 25 year old archer Marie Horáčková, who became the world champion at the World Archery Championships in Berlin this past weekend. Horáčková defeated Mexico’s Alejandra Valencia, who won a bronze medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

This is the first archery victory for Czechia since 1938, when František Hadaš won a gold medal in London at the archery world championships.

This gold medal has now secured Horáčková’s place in the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics, where she will compete for Czechia.

Marie Horáčková | Photo: Christoph Soeder,  ČTK/DPA

Moving over to ice hockey, the Czech men’s U18 team got a silver medal on Saturday night in the 2023 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, falling short to Canada in overtime.

Adam Titlbach put the first goal on the scoreboard for Czechia during the first period, and Matej Kubiesa was able to tie the game and push the Canadians into overtime with less than five minutes remaining in the third period.

It was team Canada’s Malcom Spence that was able to shut Czechia down with ten seconds left in the first overtime period, leading the Canadian team to their second Hlinka Gretzky Cup victory in a row.

This new victory for Czechia further proves that 2023 has been an exciting year for Czech hockey, for both the men and women’s national teams. The Czech men placed second collecting a silver medal back in January during the World Junior Championship, and the Czech women’s team scored a bronze medal at the 2023 International Ice Hockey Federation Championship back in April of this year.

Czech men’s U18 ice hockey team | Photo: F. Maurenc,  ČTK