11-08-2008

In Sports News this week: all the Olympic action from China, with two gold medals for the Czech Republic by shooters Kateřina Emmons and David Kostelecký; tennis player Tomáš Berdych goes on at Beijing while Radek Štepánek and Nicole Vaidošová drop out; and in home football, Slavia and Sparta do well before the Champions League’s 3rd qualifying round.

Kateřina Emmons, photo: CTKKateřina Emmons, photo: CTK The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing started exceptionally well for the Czechs after Kateřina Emmons and David Kostelecký took gold over the weekend. The Czech Republic secured the very first gold medal that was on offer at the Games after shooter Kateřina Emmons set a new Olympic record in the 10 m air rifle on Saturday. The Czech shooter, who won bronze in the same event at the previous games, scored the maximum of 400 points in the qualifier, not missing a single shot. In the finals, Kateřina Emmons scored another 103.5 points, setting a new Olympic record and beating Russia’s Lyobov Galkina in second place as well as Croatian Snejzana Pejcic who landed the bronze. Kateřina Emmons shares with us her feelings over the phone from the Olympic Village in Beijing.

“It feels really good because I had to overcome a couple of technical problems in shooting, and the level of preparation was really tough. I’m really happy that I was able to make it work when it mattered.”

Was winning the gold more difficult than you thought it would be, or was it easier?

“It was in fact tougher because I was really nervous and I didn’t expect myself to be that nervous. I was trying not to put all the pressure on myself but unfortunately when the competition day arrived, I got really nervous. I have to be very precise when I’m shooting, I focus on my technique and all that stuff to make it all work, and that costs a lot of energy.”

Kateřina Emmons, photo: CTKKateřina Emmons, photo: CTK Do you think that your gold medal will put additional pressure on your husband Matthew, who’s on the American Olympic team competing in 50 m rifle?

“No, I don’t think so. My husband told me he knew I would do well, and he was ready for all that which would happen after. He’s on his own game, and he’s fine.”

The first golden medallist of the games Kateřina Emmons will appear again on Thursday in a 50 m three-position rifle competition.

David Kostelecký, photo: CTKDavid Kostelecký, photo: CTK Saturday also saw the qualification in the men’s trap shooting event won by the Czech Republic’s David Kostelecký. Despite the heavy rain in Beijing on Sunday, David Kostelecký hit all the 25 targets in the finals, securing the second gold medal for the Czech Republic with a three-point advantage over the Italian Giovanni Pellielo, who took the silver, and the defending champion Alexey Alipov from Russia, who finished third.

With two gold medals from the first two days, the Czech Republic is currently ranking seventh in the Beijing Olympics medal count.

In Olympic tennis, the Czech Republic’s number two Tomáš Berdych managed to score an easy win over China’s Yu Xinyuan 6:1 and 6:2, in the first round of the Olympic tennis tournament on Sunday. Due to heavy rain, only 9 matches were held out of the planned 45. In one of the interrupted games, Nicole Vadišová was unable to surpass Alize Cornet from France, seeded 15th, in three sets 4:6, 6:1 and 6:4, dropping out of the singles. She will now stay in Beijing to compete in the doubles.

On Monday, Czech men’s tennis number one Radek Štěpánek lost in the tournament’s first round to the Frenchmen Michael Llodra 6:4, 6:7 and 9:11.

In rowing, the Czech women’s double sculls Jitka Antošová and Gabriela Vařeková advanced to the finals after finishing second in Monday’s repechage which means they will finish sixth at the worst in Saturday’s final.

Photo: CTKPhoto: CTK In more Olympic action, the Czech women’s basketball team lost to the highly favoured Americans 97:57 on Saturday. The game started well for the Czechs who opened up a lead of 13:2 in the initial quarter, but the Americans fought back and claimed the lead before the first half was over. In their second appearance at the Olympic tournament, the Czechs beat Mali 81:47 on Monday.

Back now to the Czech Republic for some football. This season’s Gambrinus Liga’s second round took place over the weekend. The defending champion Slavia Prague made amends for the first round away loss, beating the outsider Příbram 1:0. The game was played in advance on Wednesday, due to Friday’s Iron Maiden concert held at the Slavia stadium in Prague. This week, Slavia will challenge Fiorentina in Italy in the first leg of the Champions League’s 3rd qualifying round. The runner-up from last season and city rival Sparta Prague beat Kladno 2:0 after embarking on their own Champions League mission. After knocking out Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol in the 4th qualifying round of the competition, they will now face Panathinaikos Athens. In other results of the Gambrinus Liga, the ambitious Brno won 4:1 over Liberec, and Žižkov beat Teplice 3:0 on Sunday in a game that included a curious own goal scored by the visiting side’s captain Pavel Verbíř. His back pass from mid field bounced in front of the goalkeeper going over him right into the net, which gave the home team a 2:0 advantage.

11-08-2008