In Sports News this Monday: Depleted Czech team arrive in Zurich ahead of European Athletics Championships with Špotáková and Klučinová among medal hopefuls; Plzeň sack Uhrin after Europa League exit; Slavia top table after three wins in three; and is Čech set for Real?
The Czech Republic’s athletes, led by head coach Tomáš Dvořák, have arrived in Zurich ahead of the European Championships, which get underway in the Swiss city on Tuesday. The Czech team is somewhat depleted, with 400m runner Pavel Maslák and 400m hurdler Zuzana Hejnová absent due to injury. That leaves Barbora Špotáková as perhaps the country’s biggest medal hopeful. Indeed, European gold is the only top prize to have eluded the javelin world record holder. Another name to watch out for is Eliška Klučinová in the heptathlon. The 26-year-old set a new Czech record this year and only two of her competitors in Zurich have picked up more points in 2014. Still, Klučinová isn’t setting her sights too high.
“Last year at the World Championships, 6,500 points was enough for the gold medal. But this year it probably won’t be enough for bronze. Unfortunately the girls have really improved. Though I have improved too, I don’t know if it’ll be enough to reach the podium. But I want to come at least sixth – otherwise I’ll go home disappointed.”
At the last European Championships, in Helsinki two years ago, the Czechs took three gold medals, one silver and one bronze.
Viktoria Plzeň announced on Monday morning that they had sacked manager Dušan Uhrin Jr. Uhrin became the first Czech top flight boss to get the chop this season after Plzeň’s somewhat embarrassing exit from the Europa League. Group stage winners two years ago, this time out they couldn’t get past the third qualifying round, losing 4:1 to Romania’s Ploiesti on Thursday for a 5:2 aggregate defeat. Even a 4:0 league win over České Budějovice at the weekend couldn’t save Uhrin’s skin.
Sparta Prague were knocked out in the second-last qualifying round of the Champions League last week and also won in the domestic league at the weekend, scraping past Příbram 1:0. That gives the title-holders three league wins out of three. But Slavia Prague top the table on goal difference, after an impressive 4:1 win over Slovan Liberec continued their flying start under Miroslav Beránek, who managed Slavia twice in the past.
Czech national team goalkeeper Petr Čech could be on his way to Real Madrid, according to speculation in recent days. Čech has picked up a bag of medals at Chelsea in the last decade but could now find himself on the bench following the London side’s recall of Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois. Last week the local edition of Forbes listed Čech as far and away the richest Czech sportsman with annual earnings of almost CZK 300 million.