In Sports News this Monday: the Czechs take only one medal at the European Athletics Championships, bronze for Barbora Špotáková in the javelin – coach Tomáš Dvořák says a young team is still lacking something; shooter Kateřina Emmons fails to reach the finals at the ISSF World Championship in Munich; and Plzeň top the Czech football league, while champions Sparta lose their second game in three.
By now, many Czechs will have at least once heard or seen 28-year-old Jakub Vágner – top sports fisherman, indomitable adventurer and world-record holder for huge catches everywhere. Recently Vágner launched a new series called Fish Warrior for the prestigious National Geographic and last Saturday he scored another major coup: appearing on the famous Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
In Sports News: Hradec Králové end champions Sparta Prague’s 33-game unbeaten run as they return to Czech football’s first division in style; Bohemians 1905 draw with Slavia in their first home game at the latter’s Eden stadium; Roman Kreuziger drops out of the leading 10 riders in the Tour de France; and it’s love-all as tennis players Štěpánek and Vaidišová wed.
Paul Whitaker arrived in Prague on Saturday from a swimming challenge that took him 18 days to complete. The 41-year-old Englishman decided to swim 175 kilometers from the South Bohemian city of České Budějovice back to the Czech capital. His goals in doing so? Raising a quarter million Czech crowns for a charity called Asistence, which works with physically and combined handicapped people, and to break the Czech record in river swimming. Did he achieve his goals? And what were the highlights and obstacles of the challenge?
One of the most keenly watched players in the Czech league this season will be defender Tomáš Kalas. Though the 17-year-old has only made one appearance for Sigma Olomouc, some of Europe’s top clubs were tracking him and he has now joined England’s Chelsea in a deal that will see him move to London next year and could net Olomouc USD 8 million. I discussed the signing of Tomáš Kalas with Chelsea’s sporting director Frank Arnesen, who was in Prague on Thursday.
The new league season in Czech football gets underway after the summer break this weekend. And the very first game of 2010-2011 could well take place in front of half-empty stands on Friday evening. Bohemians 1905 are hosting Slavia Prague, but both clubs’ fans are organizing a boycott of the game to protest the fact that they are now sharing the modern Eden stadium. It was built for Slavia, but it is now also Bohemians’ home ground, after they were forced to leave their traditional stadium about a kilometer away.
In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic beat Chile to reach the semi-finals of tennis’s Davis Cup, but will face a sterner test against Novak Djokovic and his Serbian team-mates in September; Roman Kreuziger can enjoy a rest day in the Tour de France after finishing fourth in the first Alpine stage on Sunday; and the Czech football season begins with a piquant game in Prague’s Vršovice district.
Czech tennis player Tomáš Berdych came close to his first Grand Slam crown at Wimbledon as he faced world’s number one, Rafael Nadal, in Sunday’s final. But the Spaniard outclassed the Czech underdog and wrapped up the match in just three sets, spoiling Berdych’s hopes of becoming the first Czech since 1973 to win the tournament.