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HN: Czech sport officials to blame for Sáblíková’s Rio debacle

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Prague, Aug 10 (CTK) – Czech sport officials are to blame for Martina Sablikova, 29, a triple Olympic winner in speed skating, not being able to compete in the Olympic time trial and they should cover the costs of her useless trip to Rio de Janeiro, Petr Honzejk writes in Hospodarske noviny (HN) on Wednesday.

Sablikova went to Rio to train in late July and she was waiting for a verdict of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) that rejected a complaint filed by her team this week.

Czechs are now expected to be deeply touched by the fate of Sablikova who was stripped of a chance to participate in the Summer Olympics by the “hostile” International Cycling Union (UCI), Honzejk writes.

However, he adds, if they look at the situation cool-headedly and without patriotic pathos, it is apparent that the arbitration decision on Sablikova is fully substantiated. She cannot start in the Olympic race since she did not meet the nomination criteria that were clear from the beginning.

If people from the Czech Cycling Union and her team were not able to read the criteria thoroughly, it is their own fault and no adverse forces are behind it, Honzejk says.

It is sad that such an excellent athlete as Sablikova, one of the few world sport personalities to be able to achieve top performances in both winter and summer seasons, must pay dear for the mistake. It is a pity for Sablikova, for sport fans and for the Czech Republic, Honzejk adds.

This is exactly why those who are directly responsible for the debacle must be clearly identified.

No matter how strange the UCI rules, which make nomination for the Olympic time trial conditional on participation in a mass start race, may seem, they are the same for everyone. They were known beforehand and not used as an unexpected argument at the very last moment, Honzejk says.

Only the incompetent Czech sport officials are to blame for Sablikova’s tragedy, he points put.

This story shows that no one is attempting to trip up Czechs, they do it themselves, in particular, the incapable are tripping up the capable, Honzejk writes.

The best punchline would be to find the particular responsible sport officials and let them pay Sablikova’s trip to Rio along with the three-million-crown costs of her preparation for the Olympic competition. If they are not able to behave professionally, they must be forced to it coercively, Honzejk writes in conclusion.

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