The figure skater Tomáš Verner has been all over the Czech media since last week taking the Czech Republic’s first European men’s gold medal in 16 years. A year ago he had led the field in the European Figure Skating Championships after the short programme on day one, but ended up finishing second after surrendering his lead on day two. When I spoke to Tomáš Verner (21) on his return to Prague, he told me what the difference had been this time out.
The 2008/2009 National Hockey League season will open in Prague and Stockholm next October. While the Swedish capital will see two games between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Ottawa Senators, hockey fans in Prague are in for a one-off treat. Jaromír Jágr, the most brilliant Czech star in the NHL and the captain of the New York Rangers, will lead his team in two matches against Tampa Bay at Prague’s Sazka Arena.
In Sports News this week: Zdeněk Štybar finishes second in the Cyclo-cross World Championships in Italy; Milan Baroš is hoping a move to Portsmouth will mean regular first-team action ahead of football’s European Championship; Athens silver medallist in yachting Lenka Šmídová this week has one last chance to reach the Beijing Olympics; and the Czech Republic’s lady’s tennis team are preparing to face Slovakia in the Fed Cup in Brno.
In Sports News this week: the biggest Czech hopes Nicole Vaidišová and Tomáš Berdych are both beaten in the fourth round of the Australian Open by the competition’s reigning women’s and men’s champions; the agent of footballer Milan Baroš says Portsmouth are strongly interested in the striker, while Brno midfielder Luboš Kalouda could be on his way to Juventus, no less.
Czech women’s basketball is on the rise. The national team, currently ranking 10th in the world, won the European Championship in 2005. Two teams from the Trocal Women’s League regularly participate in Euroleague, Europe’s most prestigious club competition, and one of them – Gambrinus Sika Brno – even won the entire event in 2006. With more international success, more international players have come to the Czech women’s basketball league – roughly 20 foreigners are on the line-ups of the 10 first division clubs this year. One of them, playing for
In Sports News this week: speed skater Martina Sáblíková is named Czech Sportsperson of the Year and takes bronze from the European Championships in Russia; Sparta Prague ice hockey club are also in action in Russia, losing in the final of the Super Six European club competition to Magnitogorsk; Nicole Vaidišová advances to the second round of the Australian Open with ease; and Petr Čech comes out on top in the battle of the Czech goalkeepers in the Premier League.
In Sports News: cross country skier Lukáš Bauer wins the Tour de Ski and is now in with a good chance of winning the World Cup; Czech slalom world champion Šárka Záhrobská takes place in a World Cup event in Špindlerův Mlýn, despite having stitches under one eye; six-time truck category winner Karel Loprais expresses disappointment with the cancellation of this year’s Dakar Rally; football star Jan Koller leaves Monaco to join the Czech enclave at Nuremberg.
In Sports News: confusion surrounds “victory” for Lukáš Bauer in two Tour de Ski races, with the Czech cross country skier ordered to return prize money after it emerges that while he may have crossed the line first he was not the winner; Germany’s coach brands a skiing sprint event at Prague Castle a “joke”; the downhill World Cup is coming to Špindlerův Mlýn but a bizarre accident could rule Šárka Záhrobská out; ski-jumper Roman Koudelka comes fourth in Four Hills event in Germany; and young Czech football star Martin Fenin joins Eintracht
This year’s World Under-20 Ice Hockey Championship got underway in Pardubice, East Bohemia on Wednesday, with the Czechs hoping for a strong tournament on home turf. Last year they finished a disappointing fifth and fans – who have helped sell out the 10,000+ Cez Arena in Pardubice – are hoping this year they’ll finish at least two better. But it won’t be easy. On Wednesday the Czechs got off to a losing start: despite a strong performance in their opener, they were beaten by three-time defending champions, Canada. The final score was 3:0.