In Sports News this Monday: Martina Sáblíková takes her first gold medal at the World Allround Speedskating Championships in Norway; the Czech Republic’s women’s tennis team reach the last four of the Fed Cup for the first time in years, setting up a home tie with the United States for a place in the final; and the Czech ice hockey team suffer a debacle at the Swedish Games.
Martina Sáblíková took her first gold medal at the World Allround Speedskating Championships at Norway’s Hamar at the weekend. Sáblíková led the women’s competition after the first two races on Saturday, before winning the concluding 5,000 m in six minutes, 55:54 seconds, before promptly collapsing exhausted on the ice.
“Before the competition I of course didn’t expect to win. After the 500 m and the 3000 m on the first day it was like a dream. I slept only four or five hours so I didn’t know what to expect. The 1500 m didn’t go perfectly but then the 5000 m went well. I’m extremely tired. I have to thank my trainer for trying to lift me during the last race – he knew I hadn’t slept.”
Sáblíková already had three world titles to her name in individual competitions, but taking gold at the four-event Allround Speedskating Championships really puts the 21-year-old Czech in a different league.
The Czech Republic’s women’s tennis team also notched up a great achievement at the weekend, when they reached the semi-finals of the Fed Cup for the first time in many years, beating Spain with a convincing score-line of 4:1 in front of an ecstatic home crowd in Brno. At 18, Petra Kvitová is the Czech team’s youngest player. She won two singles rubbers, including the opening match.
“I’m glad the captain gave me such responsibility and that he selected me…I wanted to repay him and I succeeded in doing so. Now all of us are really happy – let’s hope go even further.”
Kvitová and her team-mates now face the USA for a place in the Fed Cup final, and must fancy their chances: April’s meeting will again see the Czechs enjoying home advantage, and if, as expected, the Williams sisters don’t join, the American team will be made up of relatively inexperienced players.
The Czech Republic ice hockey’s team have been left licking their wounds
after a very poor showing in the Swedish Games. They were beaten 5:3 by
Sweden, 6:4 by Finland and 6:3 by Russia, coming last, and remaining bottom
of the overall table of the four-nation Euro Hockey Tour. Coach Vladimír
Růžička said the debacle has opened the Czech team’s eyes, while one
of Monday’s newspapers suggested it was just the right time for a wake-up
call ahead of the World Championships, which get underway in Switzerland at
the end of April.
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