The sound of a golf club hitting a ball has become an increasingly familiar sound as more and more Czechs take to a new pastime – golf. Until fairly recently, most Czechs thought “handicap” only meant a disadvantage and “green” stood for nothing else but the colour. Not any more. According to a recent survey conducted by the KPMG agency, more than half of all the golf courses in post-communist Europe are located in the Czech Republic. While in the early 1990s there were only about 5 golf courses to choose from, now there are close to 80 of them.
The Czech Republic’s footballers were beaten 3:1 by Portugal in their second game at the European Championship on Wednesday evening. That result was perhaps unfortunate for the Czechs, whose play showed marked signs of improvement. Now it’s going right down to the wire: Petr Čech and Co. have to beat Turkey to advance to the quarter-finals.
Just a week ago the Czech ice hockey player Jiří Hudler celebrated the greatest success of his career, when his club the Detroit Red Wings won the NHL’s Stanley Cup. Hudler, who is 24, is now looking forward to showing the coveted trophy to fans in his home town of Olomouc during the summer. Soon after he arrived at Prague Airport on Wednesday morning, I spoke to the young star about his Stanley Cup success, and the retirement (announced on Monday) of team-mate Dominik Hašek.
A series of 4km fun run events will be held in cities and towns across the Czech Republic this year, in order to raise money and awareness for cancer research in the country. The format of the events will be similar to that of a successful scheme in the UK which has been running since 1994. And, like the UK events, the Czech version will be sponsored and organised with the help of supermarket giant Tesco. I went along to the inaugural press conference to find out more.
Dominik Hašek - goaltender for the Detroit Red Wings and one of the best goalies in the history of the NHL – announced on Monday he was retiring from hockey. Although it is not the first time Hašek has announced giving up the game, at 43 this is likely to be his last. Over 16 years Hašek won the Stanley Cup twice as well as gathered countless personal awards including the NHL’s Hart Trophy for most valuable player in the playoffs (twice) and the Vezina for best goalie during the regular season (six times). He also led the Czech Republic to Olympic
In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic’s footballers get off to a winning start at the European Championship with a 1:0 victory over the Swiss, though there is much room for improvement – Petr Čech gives his verdict on the performance; ice hockey great Dominik Hašek is said to be ready to announce his retirement at the age of 43; and Dukla win the Prague Primátorky rowing race – for the 29th time in a row.
We're now just a day away from the start of the Euro 2008 Football Championships in Austria and Switzerland. The Czech team will of course be there, and is in fact playing in the tournament's opening fixture on Saturday evening. I went and found out how Prague is gearing up to mark the events and found out what expectations people in the city have of their national side.
The Czech football squad are now at their base camp in the Austrian Tyrol, and looking forward to playing Switzerland in the Euro 2008 curtain raiser on Saturday evening. The Czechs experimented with line-up and formation in two successful warm-up games last week against Lithuania and Scotland, though it is still not clear whether they will play with two strikers or a five-man midfield. I spoke to goalkeeper Petr Čech before the team left Prague on Monday, and began by asking him what had been learned from last week’s friendlies.
Many fans of classical music in the Czech capital have been closely following the Prague Spring Festival drawing to a close this week. But how many knew that some of these classical musicians also play football? On Sunday members of the BBC Symphony Orchestra faced the Czech Radio Symphony in a 5-aside football friendly in Prague’s Hanspaulka district.
In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic complete their preparations for Euro 2008 with a solid 3:1 win over Scotland – we speak to two-goal man-of-the-match Libor Sionko; Radek Štěpánek and the rather less well known Petra Kvitová make it to week two at the French Open; and a goal from young Czech ice hockey star Jiří Hudler brings Detroit to within one win of the NHL’s Stanley Cup.