In Sports News this Monday: Title contenders need to work hard for victories and Boleslav’s Chramosta scores his first hat-trick as new Czech football season begins; Plzeň and Sparta gear up for away Champions League qualifiers; and Olympic javelin champion Špotáková says Olympics without Russian athletes “incomplete”.
While a number of European leagues are weeks away from kicking off, the new season in Czech football’s first division is already underway. And the opening weekend provided a decent helping of entertainment: Jablonec beat Karviná 5:3 in an eight-goal thriller, Viktoria Plzeň and Sparta Prague had their work cut out to secure victories and there were two hat-tricks, one for Jablonec’s Tomáš Wágner and one from Jan Chramosta of Mladá Boleslav in their win 3:0 over Slovan Liberec. Indeed striker Chramosta, who scored just five goals in the whole of last season, celebrated the first hat-trick of his career. The 25-year-old spoke to Czech Radio after Sunday’s game.
“The match went well for both me and the rest of the players. We won 3:0, which was a great start to the new season. It’s great – I was lacking a hat-trick and had always wanted to score one. For a forward it’s good to not have to wait for the goals to come – I’m sure I have it in me to add more in forthcoming games.”
Defending champions Viktoria Plzeň had Jan Kopic to thank for giving them a winning start to 2016/2017, as his powerful volley – an early contender for goal of the season – secured a 2:1 victory over Jihlava.
Title hopefuls Sparta Prague, meanwhile, went 2:0 up against Slovácko within 10 minutes but the visitors fought back strongly and Sparta had to work hard to earn a 3:2 win.
Plzeň have now travelled to Azerbaijan, where they will face Quarabag on Tuesday in the second leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie. The first game in West Bohemia ended 0:0. Sparta have a shorter trip to Bucharest to face Steaua on Wednesday; that tie is balanced at 1:1 after the first leg.
Reigning women’s Olympic javelin champion Barbora Špotáková will no doubt have a greater chance of retaining her title in the absence of Vera Rebrik of Russia. Rebrik has recorded the longest throw in the world this year but will miss out on Rio de Janeiro along with the rest of her country’s track and field team. However, Špotáková, who is now 35, says she does not support the ban on Russian athletes.
“I don’t like any kind of radical interventions like that. Some of them just do athletics and they don’t cheat. I don’t know why they should pay and be punished. To me an Olympic Games without such a huge country feels incomplete.”
More and more members of the Czech team have been touching down in Rio for the 27th Summer Olympics ahead of Friday’s opening ceremony at the Maracana Stadium. Among the latest to arrive have been the beach volleyball players Markéta Sluková and Barbora Hermannová, who reached the Czech section at the Olympic village late on Sunday night.