Racice in central Bohemia was the venue at the weekend for the European Flatwater Championships, and the Czech Republic took advantage of home conditions, winning two silver medals. The first went to one of the country's best known canoeists Martin Doktor in the C1 200m category. Doktor, who took two golds at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, had last won a medal at the European Championships seven years ago; he said the home crowd had helped him get back on the podium.
"It really helped me a lot, they made a lot of noise. During the race of course I couldn't understand what people were shouting, but just the sheer amount of noise really helped me. It makes the whole thing feel like a real race, you're not just out there trying to reach the finishing line - it is just what you need as a canoeist. I had said before that this would be the highlight of my season, at home in Racice."
The other Czech medal was for the men's K4 team of Batka, Sterba, Holubar and Svab, who also came second; like Doktor they were competing on a non-Olympic 200m course.
It's been a while coming but Czech tennis player Radek Stepanek has finally - for the first time in his career - broken into the top ten rankings. Stepanek, who is 27, is now eighth in the world after recently reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon. The last Czech in the top ten was Jiri Novak, three years ago.
Czech ice hockey star Martin Havlat has joined the Chicago Blackhawks from the Ottawa Sentators. His three-year contract is set to earn the forward 18 million dollars.
There have been reports in the German press that striker Milan Baros of Aston Villa has agreed terms with one of the Bundesliga's top clubs, Hamburg. He will join fellow Czech David Jarolim at the club if the deal is sealed. Meanwhile, the transfer of Michal Kadlec from Sparta Prague to Glasgow Celtic now appears unlikely. The young left back says he plans to stay at Sparta until at least January.
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