In Sports News this Monday: Czechs top medals table at “home” judo European Open – gold winner Krpálek is looking forward to Rio; scandal as football ref allows player to continue despite two yellow cards; Liberec set records on way to winning Extraliga regular season; and snowboarder Ledecká wins World Cup Crystal Globe in Turkey.
Judo’s European Open in Prague at the weekend was a highly successful tournament for the hosts, who picked up two golds, one silver and one bronze to top the medals table. Pavel Petřikov was the first Czech to reach the podium, when he triumphed in his category on Saturday. On Sunday Ivan Petr claimed bronze for his first medal at senior level; Jaromír Musil was frustrated to only come second; and top seed Lukáš Krpálek confirmed his status as favourite to overcome Niiaz Bilalov of Russia in the final. A previous world champion and two-time European champion in the -100kg category, Krpálek is the greatest judo practitioner the Czech Republic has ever produced. Speaking after his latest triumph on Sunday the 25-year-old said he was already looking ahead to other competitions – and one in particular.
“I really like competitions held on home turf. I’m pleased I was able to start again and that I managed to win for the third time in a row. It’s amazing – I’m satisfied. I hope things continue like this. This year it’s clear – I have to prepare thoroughly for the Olympics in Rio, and before that I have the European Championships in Kazan. I’d be happy if I got another medal; hopefully it’ll be the biggest one, in August.”
With second-placed Sparta Prague not playing until Monday evening, Viktoria Plzeň extended their lead at the top of the Czech league to six points on Saturday with a 1:0 over Olomouc. However, the game was marred by one of the biggest scandals seen in domestic football this season. Referee Ondřej Lerch twice gave yellow cards to Olomouc defender Martin Hála but didn’t send him off. Though it was clear to the whole stadium and TV cameras that Hála had been at fault, it was announced over the tannoy that his teammate Michal Vepřek had received the card, a claim Lerch later repeated in his post-match report. The head of the referees committee at the Czech FA, Dagmar Damková, says she will be seeking an explanation from the referee.
Liberec have won the regular season of the domestic Extraliga in style. On Friday the White Tigers notched up an unprecedented 38th win while on Sunday they reached 112 points, which is also a record in the competition.
Czech snowboarder Ester Ledecká won the parallel giant slalom at a World Cup event in Turkey’s Kayseri at the weekend. The 20-year-old’s third win in the three races held this season makes her the World Cup winner in the category and only the second Czech awarded the Crystal Globe. Ledecká is also looking good for the overall alpine snowboard World Cup title as she has a commanding points lead.
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