Czechs end ice hockey’s Karjala Tournament with poor showing in sixth successive defeat to Russians; disappointing start to season for speed skater Sáblíková; javelin world champion Špotáková named Athlete of Year; and footballers win twice during Doha visit.
The Czech Republic’s ice hockey players concluded the Karjala Tournament in Finland on Sunday with a 2:5 defeat at the hands of competition winners Russia. Coach Josef Jandač said everything that could go wrong had gone wrong for the Czechs in their sixth defeat in a row to the Russians. For his part, the scorer of one of the Czech Republic’s goals, Jakub Klepiš, said it had been a terrible day at the office.
“It was like game of cat and mouse. It was a bad, bad game. I think from the very start the issue wasn’t our standard of play. It was more a question of application, which were we lacking throughout the match. We couldn’t get into it at all. It’s hard to say why. I’d describe it as a bad game all round – there were no positives.”
The Czech Republic finished fifth in the Karjala Tournament, which is part of the Euro Hockey Tour, with just three points.
Speed skater Martina Sáblíková made a disappointing start to the season at the weekend. The 30-year-old began a World Cup meeting in the Dutch town of Heerenveen with 17th place in the 1,500 metres on Saturday. Things didn’t get much better for Sáblíková on the 3,000-metre track on Sunday, where she finished seventh. The Czech has dominated long-track speed skating for years, winning the World Cup in the 3,000 and 5,000 metres for the last 11 years in a row, alongside three Olympic gold medals and a long list of World Championships triumphs.
However her long-term manager Petr Novák pointed out that Sáblíková had finished just two seconds behind the 3,000 metres winner in Heerenveen and said her health had not been optimal.
“We don’t know what’s going on. One thing is that her back hurts, though still it shouldn’t have impacted her performance so much. But she didn’t really feel good – it’s as if she’s coming down with something.”
After becoming world champion in the javelin in August, Barbora Špotáková has just been named the Czech Republic’s Athlete of the Year for the ninth time. And her discipline dominated the poll, with second and third place going to Jakub Vadlejch, who took silver in London, and Petr Frydrych, who came third. The latter pair’s coach, Jan Železný, was named Trainer of the Year. The all-time javelin legend finished just ahead of Rudolf Černý, who works with Špotáková.
The Czech Republic’s footballers enjoyed a fruitful stay in Doha in what were their last outings of 2017. The Czechs first overcame World Cup 2018 qualifiers Iceland 2:1 before on Saturday beating Qatar, who will host the 2022 edition, 1:0. Having missed out on Russia, Karel Jarolím’s men will not face any competitive games until qualifications for the 2020 European Championship, which begin in the latter third of next year.
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