The Women’s Czech National team suffered an agonising defeat 71-68 to France in the quarter finals of the Olympic tournament. The Czech team squandered a 13 points lead in the 4th quarter and Les Blues led by the incredible Celine Dumerc could celebrate their passage to semi-finals.
One of the stars of Czech team Jana Vesela has spent time talking to Future Stars about their experience in London. Jana is one of the most successful European players who in her career has won both Women’s Euroleague  with Ros Caseres Valencia and the WBNA with Seattle Storm . She also played an instrumental role in her native National team claiming the runner up spot in the World Championship in 2010.
FS: How would you assess your performance as a team at this Olympic Games? You were so close to beating France and reaching the Semi Final.
JV: We were so close, now we are going to feel really upset about it as it was so close, but after a few days when we have had time to think and reflect on this we will realise that 7th at the Olympics is not so bad. It also shows our consistency, in recent tournament we always finish among the top teams.
FS: Do you think that the fact that you started your Olympic campaign not so well, you lost to China, then you had a very close game against Turkey that this played a role?
JV: The second group had teams like Australia, Russia and France so no matter what position we would finish the group stage we would still end up playing a very strong team. Maybe they had a psychological effect but im not so sure about that.
FS: What decided your defeat against France? You had a 13 point lead, Celine Demurc had an amazing game, but in the 3rd quarter you seemed to be sailing towards victory.
JV: I think that the France didn’t expect that we could play with them, which allowed us to start well. The difference in the last quarter was Dumerc who has played amazing in this Olympics. I really don’t know what happened in the 3rd quarter, we didn’t keep our focus. Thirteen points seemed to be a safe advantage, but we couldn’t keep it.
FS: You came second in the World Championships, do you regret that you didn’t place within the medals here?
JV: You can’t compare it as each tournament is different, we came 2nd at the World Championships and seventh here, but we are within the World top teams. We didn’t have much luck here, and one game can influence the others, it comes down to one game and there is not much between the top teams. The difference between second and seventh team is minimal.
FS: Who do you think is going to win this Olympics games? Do you think someone can challenge America or do you think it is a forgone conclusion that the US will win the gold medal?
JV: The American team are playing at a different level, and in my opinion will win.
FS We are a website which is focuses on the careers and development of young talent. You started your International career very early, you have travelled a lot, played for Spanish clubs and WNBA. What do you think is the most important factor for young players to allow transition from a successful junior to a professional player, especially in the women’s game?
JV: I think the most important thing is to practice hard and keep trying to learn from the older and most experienced players around you. If you have the chance to play with older or better players, take it. When I was 18, I practiced a lot with senior players. Take the chance and keep practicing, and the success will come.
Photographs courtesy of FIBA Europe and FIBA