In today's Sports News: the Czech Republic has got off to a good start at the Paralympics in Athens with two gold medals, though a third Czech was stripped of gold after a dispute about her disability categorisation; the highlight of the first weekend of ice hockey's Extraliga was the Prague derby, which was won by Slavia; in football, Sparta Prague extended their lead at the top of the table; several Czech athletes have ended the season with good results.
The Czech Republic always seems to do well at the Paralympics, and already has two gold medals at this year's Games in Athens: swimmer Martin Kovar set a new world record on his way to victory in the 100m freestyle on Sunday; and Veronika Foltova took first place in the discus.
But there was huge disappointment for Czech athlete Jana Fesslova, who set a Paralympics record in the shot-put, before being stripped of gold when another team disputed her disability categorisation. Ironically, Fesslova's disqualification was good news for another Czech, Eva Kacuna, who moved from bronze to silver in the shot-put.
Other Czech medal winners at the Paralympics include Frantisek Purgl with bronze in the discus, Jiri Jezek with silver in cycling's individual pursuit and Jiri Bouska with bronze, also in cycling.
Without question the biggest game of the first weekend of the ice hockey Extraliga was the Prague derby on Sunday, with Slavia taking on Sparta at the city's Sazka Arena; the 10,000 fans who turned out for the big game enjoyed top class hockey in a highly charged atmosphere, with Slavia going ahead after nine minutes and eventually running out 4:1 winners.
Interest in the game was high at hockey stadiums around the country at the weekend, with many Czech stars playing in the Extraliga due to the NHL shut-out. Among the most impressive were goalie Roman Cechmanek, who helped Vsetin to six points out of six, and Robert Reichel, who notched two goals and two assists for Litvinov.
Sparta Prague bounced back from a Champions League defeat to Turkey's Fenerbahce last week to extend their lead at the top of the domestic football league on Sunday, when a late goal from Tomas Jun gave them a 1:0 away win over an impressive Liberec. Second-placed Brno, meanwhile, could only manage a 1:1 draw at Ceske Budejovice. And Slavia Prague beat Drnovice 2:1 with the second goal coming from Martin Zboncak, who recently returned from a stint in the Russian league.
Vera Cechlova-Pospisilova ended the athletics season in style, coming first in the discus at the Grand Prix in Monte Carlo. The $30,000 prize money may go some way to making up for her disappointment at coming fifth at the Athens Olympics. Other Czechs who improved on their Athens placings were Nikola Brejkova who finished second in the javelin, and Jan Zelezny, who came third, also in the javelin.
Czech tennis player Radek Stepanek has won his first tournament on the ATP tour, in the doubles at the International in Florida. His partner was Leander Paes of India, who seems to enjoying playing with Czechs: his previous doubles partners include Martina Navratilova and David Rikl.
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