In Sports News: Klučinová sets new Czech record in women’s heptathlon; swimmer Baumrtová does likewise in 200m backstroke; men’s handball team achieves sensational turnaround to reach World Championship; and will Koller and Berger come out of retirement to play in India?
The Czech Republic has a new national record in the women’s heptathlon, after Eliška Klučinová took 6,460 points at a meeting in Kladno. Indeed, Klučinová surpassed her own record – set at last year’s World Athletics Championships in Moscow – by a hefty 128 points. Perhaps the familiar setting spurred her to the weekend’s achievement: The Kladno stadium is where she took her first steps as an athlete. Nevertheless, Klučinová, who is 26, was somewhat taken aback by her own achievement.
“I have to say it really surprised me a lot, because even though I ‘planned’ to attack my record, it never occurred to me it’d be by so many points. I was a lot more relaxed after the hurdles, because I’ve had trouble with them my whole life. It was the same after the high jump; I had problems with my ankle during the winter and I couldn’t jump at all. And the long jump – that was fantastic.”
Klučinová wasn’t the only woman to set a new Czech record at the weekend. Swimmer Simona Baumrtová achieved a time of 2:09:92 in the 200m backstroke at the Trofeo Settecolli meeting in Rome, also breaking a record set by herself.
The Czech men’s handball team have reached their sport’s World Championship for the first time since 2007. After losing 15:23 in the first leg of a play-off tie with Serbia away, the Czechs managed to turn things around in sensational style in Brno on Saturday, running out 33:21 winners. Coach Jaroslav Hudeček said his men had benefited from the Serbs’ hot-headed nature.
“We all know people from the Balkans and they’re from the Balkans. We heard them arguing amongst themselves in the changing rooms, so we knew the foundations of our success had been laid. We really piled the pressure on them and – thank God – everything went according to plan. The boys put in an incredible performance. Hats off to them.”
The Handball World Championship does not take place until next January and there is a question mark over whether the Czech Republic’s most successful player and captain, Filip Jícha, will make it to Qatar. Jícha, who is 32, has been injured for much of this season and is considering calling it a day.
Some Czech soccer stars of yesteryear could perhaps enjoy a late payday. The website goalindia.com quoted their agent as saying that Milan Baroš, Jan Koller and Patrik Berger are in the frame to join a proposed Indian Super League, starting in September and running for two months. Baroš, 32, is still playing, for Turkish side Antalyaspor, but Koller, who is 41, and Berger, 40, retired several years ago.