In Sports news this Monday: Olympic champion Martina Sáblíková wins gold in the 5,000 metres at the world speed skating championships; in football, top division leaders clash for first place; and in hockey, Pardubice and Vítkovice advance to the playoffs’ semifinals.
Czech two-time Olympic champion Martina Sáblíková won the gold medal in the ladies’ 1,000 metres at the World Single Distances Speed Skating Championships in Germany on Saturday. Sáblíková, who was paired with Jilleanne Rookard, from the US, managed to keep pace throughout the race, and finished in 6:50.83. The 23-year-old Czech, who is still overcoming an ankle injury, skipped the 1,500 metres event after she took silver in the 3,000 metres race on Thursday. After winning the world title in the 5,000, Martina Sáblíková said the race was exhausting.
“I wanted to win so much, and I did, so it’s wonderful. After three kilometres, I was doing the same time and I had to put in a lot of effort but it was a great race. I wasn’t able to speed up in the two final laps because I was really tired. But it worked out great.”
Another Czech speed skater at the world championships, Karolína Erbanová, finished 11th in the 500 metres event in the best result of her career.
In Czech football, the top division saw a clash of titans when league leaders Plzeň took on Sparta Prague, who were two points behind in the standings. The hosts had a great start in the game and in the 16th minute, Plzeň captain Pavel Horváth scored an incredible direct free kick. He hit the crossbar; the ball bounced inside the goal just behind the line and rebounded back into the field. But one of the referees noticed the ball had crossed the line and allowed the goal. Sparta then did their best to equalize but Plzeň’s defence showed great form. With a few minutes to go, Sparta’s Erich Brabec spoilt one of few opportunities his team had throughout the match. With ten rounds left, Plzeň remains in first place – five points ahead of Sparta. Plzeň striker Jan Rezek had this to say after the game:
“It’s a great victory for us. We worked really hard to get it but it only took two opportunities one of which we converted. We also had fantastic defence today and we didn’t allow Sparta any big chances. So we didn’t make any serious mistakes and we won three vital points; we are now five points ahead of Sparta and although nothing’s decided yet, this victory will be a great psychological asset.”
In other interesting results of the top Czech football division, Jablonec destroyed Hradec Králové 7:0 and advanced to third place while Brno unexpectedly beat Olomouc 2:0 to escape the relegation zone.
In the world of hockey, Pardubice and Vítkovice won their best-of-seven quarterfinal series to advance to the playoff semis. It only took defending champions Pardubice four matches to beat Zlín; in the final game on Tuesday, Pardubice beat their rivals from Zlín 6:2. Vítkovice, which ranked third after the regular season, beat České Budějovice 0:2 on Sunday, winning the series 4:2. Vítkovice’s best scoring defenseman Marek Malík thought the fifth game, which his team won in penalty shootout, was decisive.
“I think it was the fifth match; they were leading twice in the game but lost the penalty shootout. They must have been really tired, physically and mentally, and that must have affected them. But for us, it was a great stimulus, for sure.”
The playoffs’ quarterfinals continue this week with regular season winners Třinec leading 3:2 over Litvínov, and Slavia Prague leading 3:2 over Liberec.
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