In Sports news this week: two Czechs take points in the motorcycle racing world championship; European Under 23 Championships concludes in Ostrava; Czech women’s tennis team will play Germany in the first round of Fed Cup; and hockey legend Jaroslav Jiřík dies in plane crash.
Two Czech racers took points at the German Grand Prix, an event of the world motorcycling championship on Sunday. In the MotoGP class, Karel Abraham on Ducati finished 12th. After a poor start, Abraham sank from the 13th position on the grid to the end of the race. However, he worked his way up again after passing several slower riders, and came in 12th, 40 seconds after winner Dani Pedrosa. The 21-year-old Czech, who ranks 12th in the overall standings, said that, given the circumstances, he was happy with the result.
“Given all the problems over the weekend, and the fact that nobody ahead of us fell – which is unusual – I’m quite satisfied with the result. But of course, I’d like to rank in the top ten. I think that if we didn’t have those problems, I would have been able to keep up with a group that was riding in front of me.”
In the 125ccm class, Jakub Kornfeil gave a great performance in Sunday’s race when he moved up 17 positions to finish 13th. The 18-year-old Czech rider took three points and also ranks 13th in the season’s standings.
The 8th European Athletics Under 23 Championships concluded on Sunday in the north-eastern city of Ostrava. Young Russian athletes won 10 gold, 6 silver and 5 bronze medals, and ranked at the top of the medal table, followed by the UK and Ukraine. The hosts only won two medals – Pavel Maslák took bronze on Saturday for 3rd place in 200 metres, while Kateřina Cachová won silver in the ladies’ heptathlon. The 21-year-old Czech was ahead of her rivals after the first day of competitions but underperformed in javelin and finished second.
“After day one, I didn’t believe very much I could finish first. This season, I didn’t do that great in the long jump but here it worked out great and I jumped 6.20 and got some extra points for that. But in the javelin, I was hoping to do better than the 42 meters, and that’s where I lost out.”
Even so, Kateřina Cachová set a new personal record at the championships when she for the first time won over 6,000 points, and qualified for the world athletics championships in South Korea later this year.
The Czech Republic’s women tennis team is yet to play Russia in this year’s final of the Fed Cup but they already know who their opponents will be in the competition’s first round in the next. A draw in Japan determined Sunday that they will play Germany on its turf in February, 2012. In 2010, the Czechs also faced Germany in the first round, and advanced to the second round following a tough battle. But Czech captain Petr Pála said there were few, if any, easy opponents in the Fed Cup’s World Group.
“It’s certainly a difficult opponent but then again, there are not many easy ones in the World Group. Germany has great potential, one of their players is right behind the top ten and two others among the top 16. All their players are young and improving. So Germany will be a tough team to play.”
The Czech team will again rely on Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitová, together with Lucie Šafářová, Lucie Hradecká and Květa Peschkeová.
And finally, some said news came from the city of Brno last Monday. The legendary Czech hockey player Jaroslav Jiřík died at the age of 71 in an air accident when a small airplane he was piloting crashed outside the city. In 1969, Jaroslav Jiřík became the first player from the former eastern block to appear, albeit briefly, in the NHL where he played three games from the New York Rangers. In the top Czechoslovak league, the right wing played for Kladno and Brno where he won the league title five times between 1961 and 1966. In the 1968/69 season, he became the league’s best scorer with 36 goals.
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