It is enough to compare this year’s and last year’s statistics and we immediately see that something is not right.
Last year, the Czech biathlon team was already on the podium twice (Markéta Davidová second and third) and nine times in the top ten with relays.
This year it is dramatically worse. Not once on stage. Six times in the top ten, even with relays, but only two individual results: Jessica Jislová’s tenth place in the sprint in Hochfilzen and tenth in the same discipline in Lenzerheide on Thursday by Tereza Voborníková.
If it was a strategic plan for the Czech team to get off to a slow start and the form was to drop exactly at the moment of February’s world championship in Nové Město na Moravá, it would be a diabolical plan. But unfortunately it doesn’t look like that.
The anger of the men’s coach Michael Málek and the embarrassment of the TV commentator and former biathlon star Ondřej Moravec after the second series, which ended on Sunday in Hochfilzen, were completely obvious.
The Czechs are not doing well yet and the reasons are not always completely clear. Main supports in particular fail. Michal Krčmář has an apology. Due to a strange cytomegalovirus illness, he did not have a completely perfect preparation in the summer. He suspected that it wouldn’t be great in the beginning. That’s why he preferred to skip Sunday’s relay in Hochfilzen.
But Markéta Davidová’s deep – mainly shooting – slump has no reasonable explanation yet. By this time last year, she was already on the podium twice and was in the top ten twice more. This year, in the overall ranking, it is in 33rd place. The running isn’t bad, but the shooting is terrible. She doesn’t understand it herself.
And others? Women’s coach Egil Gjelland believes her form will come. But Ondřej Moravec said in a comment that it will be for a deeper analysis. She has no idea what’s going on from her erratic shooting.
At the same time, the other girls are not bad. Jessica Jislová finished tenth in the sprint, Tereza Voborníková was 10th in the sprint yesterday in Lenzerheide, already 11th in the chase. Lucie Charvátová holds the standard. Sixth place in the women’s relay in Östersund is promising, as is fifth place in the mixed relay.
Coaches Málek and Gjelland with sports director Ondřej Rybář will have to sit down and think about the next strategy. Because time runs fast. There will be only three January races between the approaching Lenzerheide and the WC in Nové Město.
This year in Oberhof, the Czechs finished without a medal at the 2023 WC, “only” with the fourth place of the men’s relay and the fifth place of Markéta Davidová. Previously, in Pokljuka 2021, Markéta Davidová had the gold in the endurance race, in Anterselva 2020 Lucie Charvátová took two bronzes from the sprint and mixed relay. However, the Czechs left Hochfilzen 2017 with one gold, two silvers and a bronze – that was the end of the golden era of Czech biathlon.