In Sports News: Czech mountain bike racer Jaroslav Kulhavý clinches the European championship title for the second year in a row; tennis player Štepánek ends almost two-year drought, winning the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington; football’s Sparta defeat Jablonec, continuing their successful start to the season; top female ref Dagmar Damková oversees her last match in the top domestic league.
In mountain bike racing, Jaroslav Kulhavý renewed his European title after winning in the cross-country at the European championships in Dohňany, Slovakia at the weekend. The defending champion edged Julien Absalon of France and Switzerland’s Florian Vogel by 23 seconds and 1:04 seconds respectively. After the race, here’s what the champion had to say:
“The win was by no means certain especially in the first half when I was getting into my stride: I was a little tired from earlier training. You could say that the three of us were ‘in the running’ throughout and I only got the edge on Julien Absalon in the final stretch.”
The Czech racer also leads on the World Cup circuit, with 2,402 points this season. Next Sunday he will race on home territory, at Nové Město na Moravě.
Thirty-two-year-old Czech tennis player Radek Štepánek has won the Legg Mason Tennis Classic in Washington, his first tournament title in just under two years. The un-seeded player defeated opponent Gael Monfils of France in straight sets: the final score was 6:4, 6:4. The singles title is the fifth in Štepánek’s career, after wins in San Jose, Rotterdam, Brisbane, and Los Angeles. His trainer, Petr Korda won the Legg Mason Classic back when he was a player. Štepánek is the second-oldest player to ever win the championship, after the legendary Jimmy Connors did it at the age of 35 back in 1988.
Football club Sparta won the second game of the season on Sunday, making them two-for-two since it began on July 31st. On Sunday evening the Prague club defeated visitors Jablonec at Letná by a score of 2:1. Sparta opened the scoring early, in the 11th minute when midfielder Sionko set up Kweuke; Matějovský added a second in the 30th minute. Jablonec, who tied in their opening match, pulled within a goal after a strike by Lafata but were unable to get another. In other action in the domestic league at the weekend, defending league champions Plzeň struggled to find winning form: after tying in their opener, the west Bohemian club was beaten 2:1 by Bohemians 1905 at Prague’s Eden Stadium.
The club is in 10th spot in the standings.
In other matches, Slavia lost 2:1 to Liberec, Příbram beat Viktoria Žižkov by the same score and Sigma Olomouc beat last-place Ostrava 3:0. League-leaders Hradec Králové face Slovan Liberec on Monday night.
In other football news, Dagmar Damková, the sole female referee working in the men’s top football league, was applauded at the weekend, a goodbye as she refereed her final match (a game between Mladá Boleslav and Slovácko which finished 1:0). Colleagues from different leagues filled the stadium’s VIP zone and thanked the ref for her contribution. Damková is leaving work on the pitch behind after being elected to UEFA’s Referees Committee. As a referee, Damková worked in the top Czech football league since the 2005/2006 season and oversaw 48 matches. She also refereed at the Olympics, including the women’s final in Beijing in 2008.
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