Sports News

Jakub Holuša, photo: CTK
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In Sports News this Monday: Six podium finishes mean hosts finish fourth in medals table at European Athletics Indoor Championships in Prague; Jakub Holuša delivers “home” gold in 1,500m with dramatic finish; men’s tennis team face playoffs in Davis Cup after World Group first round exit’; and Sparta draw level with Plzeň after latter’s game postponed due to virus outbreak.

Holuša delivers one of two Czech golds at “home” indoor Euros after dramatic finish

Jakub Holuša, photo: CTK
The European Athletics Indoor Championships, which came to a conclusion at Prague’s O2 Arena on Sunday evening, were quite a success for the four-dozen strong Czech team. Taking advantage of the home setting, the Czechs finished a creditable fourth in the medals table with two golds, one silver and three bronze. The top prizes were taken by Jakub Holuša in the 1,500m and defending champion Pavel Maslák in the 400m. Holuša put in the performance of his life to take gold, setting a new national record of 3:37.68 along the way. The Czech had been in second place with only 100m to go but managed to find an extra gear to edge a hugely dramatic finish. Moments later he spoke to Czech Radio.

“If I don’t win the Olympics that will be the greatest experience of my life. Because running at home in front of 11,000 people cheering you on and winning the gold – it’s just incredible. I’m really moved – I’ll probably cry during the medal ceremony. If I hadn’t been at home, I might have been satisfied with second place. But in front of a home crowd I just had to try. I fought to the last metre, and it worked out.”

The other Czech medals at the European Indoor Championships went to Radek Juška, with silver in the long jump, Ladislav Prášil, with bronze in the shot put, Eliška Klučinová with bronze in the pentathlon and the men’s 400m relay team, who also came third.

Czech men’s team facing Davis Cup playoffs after defeat to Australia

Jiří Veselý, photo: CTK
After twice winning tennis’s Davis Cup in the last three years, the Czech Republic are this season facing playoffs in the competition after a 2:3 World Group first round defeat to Australia in Ostrava. The Czech team comprised Lukáš Rosol, Jiří Veselý, Jan Mertl and Adam Pavlásek. In other words, they were without the duo that drove their recent success, Tomáš Berdych and Radek Štěpánek. Speaking after the weekend’s defeat, non-playing captain Jaroslav Návratil said things may get worse for Czech men’s tennis before they get better.

“We have fewer and fewer talented young players. When I see our 17-and 18-year-olds they’re not competitive at the European level, never mind the world level. We will have to be patient. It’s not about finding a new Berdych or Štěpánek – a new Jiří Veselý would be good. Because the only promise for the future is Patrik Rikl, who is second in Europe in his age group. He’s 16, so it’s a question of time.”

Sparta pull level on points with Plzeň after virus stops play for latter

Sparta Prague - Dukla Prague, photo: CTK
Sparta Prague are now level on points with Viktoria Plzeň at the top of the Czech league after a 3:0 win over Dukla Prague at the weekend. The defending champions grabbed the opportunity to make up some ground after Plzeň’s game against Slavia was postponed due to the fact most of their squad were laid low by a virus.