Record number of Czech athletes to compete in Beijing Winter Olympics

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Publish Time: 2022-01-29 Author: From: Xinhua

PRAGUE, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- A record number of 114 Czech athletes will compete in the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympics as they start heading to the Chinese capital.

A majority of athletes, or 69, together with 70 other members of the Czech Winter Olympic team, jetted off from Prague on Thursday evening. On board were Czech medal hopefuls speed skater Martina Sablikova and biathlete Marketa Davidova, according to the Czech News Agency (CTK) report. They arrived in Beijing Friday.

RECORD NUMBER

The precious record number of Czech contestants at the Winter Olympics is 93 at the PyeongChang 2018 Games in South Korea. This time, the record-size Czech Olympic team will compete in all 15 sports.

"We have the biggest team in history, never more than 100 athletes have ever gone to the Winter Olympics. Ester Ledecka has two nominations again, in alpine skiing and snowboarding," Jiri Kejval, President of the Czech Olympic Committee, has said when unveiling the Czech Olympic team earlier this month.

Ledecka, who won gold medals in skiing and snowboarding in PyeongChang, is among the "most prominent" athletes in the Czech Olympic team. Another is Sablikova, the three-time Olympic gold medal winner in speed skating.

However, nominated snowboarder Eva Samkova, the 2014 Olympic champion in snowboard cross, would not compete at the Beijing Games with broken ankles, a pity for both the double Olympic medalist and the Czech team.

Among the 114 athletes, 15-year-old Anezka Indrackova is the youngest Czech competitor at the Beijing Olympics and will take part in the women's ski jumping. The ice hockey players account for the biggest part of the delegation.

LARGE HOCKEY SQUAD

With 48 athletes, the Czech ice hockey squad has 25 men and 23 women. The Czech women's hockey team will compete at the Olympics for the first time. The team made history by qualifying for Beijing 2022 in November last year.

"It was a long way for Czech women's hockey to get to the Olympics. We are very happy about that. We feel joy, but also sadness for the players who have fought for the Olympic Games all their lives and in the end did not get into the nominations," said the team's coach Tomas Pacina when announcing the final nomination for the Beijing Games.

"We want to aim for medals. When we go to the Olympics, we want to succeed," the team's captain Alena Mills has said.

The women's team has three goalkeepers, seven defenders and 13 forwards. The 25-member men's hockey team consists of three goalkeepers, eight defenders and 14 forwards.

The Czech Republic won two gold medals, two silvers and three bronzes at the last Winter Olympics in PyeongChang.

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