Czech team bring home just one medal from Beijing after Špotáková falls short
The Czech Republic have returned from the World Athletics Championships in Beijing with a single medal: gold for Zuzana Hejnová in the 400 m hurdles. Another of the country’s serious medal hopefuls, Barbora Špotáková, was left empty-handed after she finished ninth with a throw of 60.08 metres in the javelin on Sunday. Indeed it was the first time in a decade that Špotáková failed to reach the podium at a major tournament. The reigning Olympic champion and world record holder, who is 34, has been without a coach since parting company with Jan Železný last year. She says she will engage a new trainer before next year’s Olympics in Rio – and that her disappointing performance at the Bird’s Nest stadium was no tragedy.
“It’s not the end of the world by any means. I’m not going to cry or grieve over it. Instead I will look for a new strategy for next year, so that it goes better. When I was thinking about how to go forward, I had Rio in mind. I wanted a more laidback year and this is how it turned out. But nothing’s happened – let’s move forward.”
Overall the 2015 World Athletics Championships were not a success from the Czech perspective. Of the 25 Czech athletes in action in Beijing, only five managed to finish among the top eight in their disciplines. In Moscow two years ago, 10 made that cut. What’s more, in 2013 the Czech team came home with three medals: two gold and one bronze. Various explanations have been offered as to why the Czechs underperformed, including the time difference in China, fitness niggles throughout the team and simply the fact that the level was relatively high in a pre-Olympic year.
Several uncapped players in Czech squad for Euro 2016 qualifiers
The Czech national soccer squad met up in Prague on Monday to start their training camp ahead of two Euro 2016 qualifiers. On Thursday Pavel Vrba’s men take on Kazakhstan in Plzeň before travelling to Latvia for another Group A game three days later. Several regulars are absent, including Tomáš Rosický, Jaroslav Plašil and Václav Pilař. So Vrba’s squad has no fewer than four newcomers, among them Under-21 players Tomáš Koubek, Martin Frýdek and Jiří Skalák, along with David Pavelka, who has impressed recently with Slovan Liberec. With six of 10 qualifiers played, the Czechs are second in the group on 13 points, two fewer than leaders Iceland.
Kvitová beats Šafářová in all-Czech final in New Haven
Tennis’s US Open begins on Monday, with no fewer than six Czechs in action at Flushing Meadow on day one. Just prior to the final Grand Slam of the season, there was an all-Czech women’s final at New Haven on Saturday, with Petra Kvitová taking on her Fed Cup teammate Lucie Šafářová. True to form Kvitová triumphed, beating her friend for the seventh time in a row, 6-7 6-2 6-2.