In Sports News this Monday: Czechs enjoy best weekend of biathlon season as country’s men return to fore; Jágr nets again to help Florida to 12th win in row; Sáblíková wins at European Speed Skating Championships; and Norway’s Eliassen comes first in Jizerská padesátka cross country event.
The Czech Republic’s biathlonists have just enjoyed their best weekend in a long time. The Czechs have become something of a power in the winter sport in recent years but so far this season the country’s men had failed to do well. All that changed, however, at the latest World Cup event in Germany’s Ruhpolding.
Ondřej Moravec – holder of three Olympic medals – finished 13th in the sprint, eighth in the pursuit and, on Sunday, second in the mass start event, climbing the podium again after a lengthy absence. Michal Šlesingr was among those celebrating a day earlier after coming second in the pursuit.
The Czech coach Ondřej Rybář said it was easy to sum up his charges’ achievements this time out.
“I think for Czech biathlon this season it’s the simplest assessment – the men’s and women’s teams both did well. There were podium positions galore.”
The leading Czech women’s biathlonist Gabriela Soukalová had already been in fine form. Her two second-place finishes and one seventh at the weekend mean she has finished in the top 10 in every race so far this season – a big reason why she continues to lead the women’s World Cup. Soukalová had this to say after her final event on Sunday.
“In view of the fact that in the last two days I really tried to perform to the maximum, I didn’t have so much left in the tank. But it’s a great result – again in the top 10. I’m glad that my performances have been stable.”
Soukalová and her teammates will return to action when the World Cup resumes on Wednesday, again in Ruhpolding.
There’s just no stopping Jaromír Jágr. The veteran Czech ice hockey star on Sunday helped the Florida Panthers to their 12th win on the trot. Jágr opened the scoring in the third minute of a 2:1 win over Edmonton to notch up his 15th strike of the season – and the 737th of a truly remarkable NHL career.
The Czech speed skater Martina Sáblíková also continues to notch up the successes. The three-time Olympic champion came first in the combination in the European Championships in Minsk, Belarus. Sáblíková, who is 28, won three of the four disciplines, the 1500m, 3000m and 5000m.
The Jizerská padesátka cross country skiing race was won on Sunday by Norway’s Petter Eliassen. Indeed the Norwegians had a clean sweep at the famous event in North Bohemia, with Johan Kjölstad and Anders Auckland coming second and third, respectively. The first Czech to reach the finish was Stanislav Řezáč, who came in 12th. This year the Jizerská padesátka – which was being held for the 49th time – consisted of a circuit of around 3.5 kilometres which competitors covered 15 times.
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