Czech biathletes land Olympic medals; disappointment for speed skater Martina Sáblíková; Czechs to face Germany in Fed Cup; and Olympic ice hockey optimism curbed

Vítková and Krčmář land biathlon medals

Michal Krčmář, photo: ČTKMichal Krčmář, photo: ČTK The Czech Republic has made a bright start in the Winter Olympics with two medals putting it in 10th place in the overall medals tally. Perhaps it was not a total surprise that both medals so far have come in the biathlon, where the Czechs had been tipped to do well.

Veronika Vítková, photo: ČTKVeronika Vítková, photo: ČTK Biathlete Veronika Vítková won the first winter Olympic medal for the Czech Republic with a bronze medal in the sprint competition and was just 1.6 seconds behind the second placed Norwegian Marte Olsbu. The competition was won by Germany’s Laura Dahlmeir.

And a day later Michal Krčmář struck silver with a second place in the biathlon sprint event on Sunday. Krčmář was 4.4 seconds behind the winner, Germany’s Arnd Peiffer.

Twenty-seven year old Krčmář’s was perhaps an unexpected winner. His best place in the previous world cup season was third and a bronze. The Olympic silver is the first major medal of his career.

Good time but no medals for Martina Sáblíková in 3,000 metres

Martina Sáblíková, photo: ČTKMartina Sáblíková, photo: ČTK But there was also disappointment for the Czechs. Speed skater Martina Sáblíková was forth in the 3,000 metres completion with Dutch rivals pipping her to all the medals.

Sáblíková’s trainer said that while her time was not that bad she was probably denied a place on the podium because she was pitted against a weak opponent. Her meals hopes are now focused on the women’s 1500 meters event

Czechs to face Germany in Fed Cup semis

Petr Pála, Petra Kvitová and Lucie Šafářová, photo: ČTKPetr Pála, Petra Kvitová and Lucie Šafářová, photo: ČTK The Czech Republic booked its place in the Fed Cup semi-finals for the 10th time in a row at the weekend with a convincing display against Switzerland in Prague. In the semi-final they will face Germany away with the tie taking place on April 21 and 22. The Germans are likely to opt for a slow surface which would favour their game.

The Czechs took an unbeatable 3:0 lead from the first three singles against Switzerland. The Swiss later won the doubles tie.

Petra Kvitová clinched the tie with her second singles win, defeating Belinda Bencic 6:2, 6:4 victory against Swiss player Belinda Bencic. Barbora Strycová also beat Bencic on the opening day.

Finns dampen Czech ice hockey hopes

In ice hockey, the Czech lost 2:0 in their first warm up match at the Winter Olympics in South Korea against Finland.

Both Finnish goals came in the second period during the short space of 32 seconds. And Czech forward Milan Gulaš was injured in the match and will probably be sidelined for two months.

Commentators complained that the Czechs were unable to put real pressure on their opponents even with more men on the ice.

The Czech competition in earnest starts Thursday when they face the host team South Korea. Canada and Switzerland also feature in the opening group A.