In Sports News this Monday: veteran canoeist Štěpánka Hilgertová is selected to carry the Czech flag at the opening ceremony at the Beijing Olympics; the 2008-2009 season begins in Czech football’s Gambrinus League with a win for favourites Sparta Prague and a defeat for defending champions Slavia; Kladno are ordered to wear old Baník Ostrava kits in a game between the two; and goalkeeper Jan Laštůvka signs a loan deal with West Ham.
In today’s Mailbox we find out who the mystery man in our July competition was and we announce the names of four Radio Prague listeners who will be sent small gifts for their correct answers. Listeners quoted: Prasanta Kumar Padmapati, Bob Boundy, Jana Vaculik, Riaz Ahman Khan, Catherine Olubunmi Agboola, Don Schumann, Steve Wara, Colin Law, David Eldridge, K. Thiagarajan, Charles Konecny, Jerry Kubik, Henrik Klemetz.
The long wait will be over for Czech football fans on Saturday, when after a two-and-a-half month break the Gambrinus Liga – the top tier of Czech soccer – kicks off once again. Can Slavia Prague defend the title they won so dramatically in May, or will fierce rivals Sparta return to their usual dominance? Who are the players to watch out for this season? And what’s the story with the two clubs called Bohemians?
Karel Bruckner has long been highly-regarded for his coaching skills, but after stepping down as Czech national team manager most expected he would retire. He himself has said as much, saying he was looking forward to the so-called “unbearable lightness of being”. But if so, not for long. On Friday, Austria’s Football Federation revealed that Mr Bruckner has signed on to lead Austria through qualification for the World Cup. On Monday, the charismatic Czech appeared at his first press conference in Vienna.
In Sports News this Monday: Roman Kreuziger comes an impressive 13th in his first Tour de France; Tomáš Necid is top scorer at football’s Under 19 Euros; Slavia prepare for the resumption of the Czech league with a win over Iran; Karel Bruckner, 70 next year, takes over as Austrian national manager; and reigning Olympic decathlon champion Roman Šebrle pulls out of an exhibition event but should be fit for Beijing.
On Saturday 32-year-old long-distance swimmer Yvetta Hlaváčová completed the last leg of a 142 kilometre swim up the Vltava River, becoming the only Czech woman to have ever conquered the Vltava against the current. Hundreds cheered her on from the shore as she approached the finish line after 35 hours over seven days, an accomplishment to be set in the Guinness Book of World Records. Prior to the week-long marathon, we had a chance to speak to Yvetta for One on One, taped at Prague’s Žluté Lázně. We discussed the Vltava challenge as well as her
The Czech Republic’s most recognised long-distance swimmer Yvetta Hlaváčová – the women’s world record holder for fastest time across the English Channel – has begun a second attempt to tackle the Czech Republic’s famous Vltava River. Last year, enduring chilly waters and the occasional drowned rat, she swam 138 kilometres from Týn nad Vltavou, in southern Bohemia, to Prague, in a record seven days. This year, she set out to tackle the waters again – but with one difference: this time she’s swimming upstream.
In Sports News this Monday: Tomáš Dvořák fails to complete the final decathlon of a successful career blighted by injury; cyclist Roman Kreuziger is 14th overall in his first Tour de France – and second in the Under 25s category; Petr Čech signs an improved deal that should keep him at Chelsea until 2013; Tomáš Rosický targets a September return; and the Czech Under 19s reach the semi-finals at their European Championship.
The Czech prime minister, Mirek Topolánek, has just announced that he is going to the Olympics in Beijing next month. However, he is heeding a Czech cabinet recommendation that he boycott the opening ceremony and will arrive in China the following week. Why is Mr Topolánek going to Beijing? And who – if anyone – will represent the Czech Republic at the opening?