Sports News

Roman Koudelka, photo: CTK
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In Sports News this Monday: Ski jumper Koudelka tops World Cup podium for first time for great start to season; speed skater Sablíková comes first in only second mass start race; Plzeň still top of league after win over Bohemians; and Sparta set to welcome Napoli in Europa League.

First place in World Cup event dream come true for ski jumper Koudelka

Roman Koudelka, photo: CTK
The Czech ski jumper Roman Koudelka achieved the greatest result of his career at the weekend when he topped the podium at the first World Cup event of the season at Germany’s Klingenthal. He had in the past looked like a coming man, finishing fifth in the Four Hills tournament and tenth overall in the World Cup two years ago. But subsequent seasons didn’t go well for Koudelka, who suffered from a mysterious condition involving headaches and anxiety.

So it was all the more impressive when he got off to the perfect start in Klingenthal, giving the best performance in Friday’s heats and in the team competition. In Saturday’s final he jumped 138 metres in the first round, before a jump of 139.5 metres in the second gave him first place. The 25-year-old was ecstatic after Saturday’s final.

“It’s completely fantastic. After the times I’ve had you, wouldn’t expect something like this. I was nervous during the first jump and messed it up a little. But it’s always better to attack from the rear rather than from first place. The second jump went a lot better. It’s a fantastic feeling. Today I’ve fulfilled my dream of one day wearing the yellow jersey.”

Sablíková comes first in only second mass start race

Martina Sáblíková, photo: Bjarte Hetland, CC BY-SA 3.0
It may seem that multiple Olympic speed skating champion Martina Sablíková has won it all in her career. However, the 27-year-old had never triumphed in a mass start race – until Saturday, when she finished ahead of the pack in a World Cup event in the South Korean capital Soul. What’s more, it was only the second mass start race Sablíková had ever taken part in.

No change at top of league as top three win

Things are still tight at the top of the Czech first division. Sparta Prague, in second spot going into the weekend, beat České Budějovice 4:0 on Saturday, to overtake Viktoria Plzeň at least briefly, while Jablonec also leapfrogged the West Bohemians with a 2:1 win over Baník Ostrava.

Viktoria Plzeň - Bohemians 1905, photo: CTK
However, Plzeň responded on Sunday, a 2:0 home win over Bohemians 1905 taking them back to first place at the mid-way point in the domestic season. The turning point in that game came when Plzeň converted a penalty awarded for a foul on midfielder Václav Pilař.

“Standa Tecl made a great pass between their centre and full backs, and I was in front of the latter. There was contact – it was a penalty. Sparta and Jablonec had both won, and we had to manage our game. I think we could have performed better, but we’re glad we managed the situation because strong teams manage games like that.”

Sparta prepare to host Napoli in Europa League

Sparta Prague will be in Europa League action on Thursday, when they welcome Napoli to their Letná stadium. Sparta currently top their group ahead of the Italians on goal difference.