A dream came true this season for ice hockey fans from Brno, myself included. Kometa Brno, the most successful Czech hockey club in history, returned to the top division after long 13 years. But the joy did not last long – the “Blue and White Aristocrats” lost the first eleven matches in a row, which has put many fans'passion for Kometa to a serious test.
This week’s guest in One on One is Czech golf pro Alan Babický. A skilled businessman but also former dancer, choreographer and downhill skier, Babický picked up the sport of golf at the fairly late age of 28. But within ten years he had built up a solid reputation, even winning the World Golfers’ Championship in Thailand in 2004 – one of the most prestigious competitions for amateur players. Recently I caught up with Alan Babický to discuss his career; the first thing I asked was how much he knew about golf the first time picked up a club 15 years
In Sports News this Monday: the Czechs reach the final of the Davis Cup for the first time since 1980 after a sensational victory over Croatia; Radek Štěpánek says he and his team-mates are happy but not satisfied yet, while Tomáš Berdych expresses gratitude for vocal Czech support in Porec; and Lucie Šafářová loses in the final of the Bell Challenge in Quebec.
Four years ago, three friends including well-known Czech golf pro Alan Babický got it into their heads to bring Extreme Golf to the Czech Republic, a sport which, as you may have guessed is not played on traditional greens but on truly rough terrain in this case mowed trails on the Špindlerův Mlýn ski resort. The rules are fairly straightforward: players have three clubs and play 12 holes which are circles drawn on the ground. Sound fun?
In his final appearance for the club, Vladimír Šmicer scored for Liverpool as they came from 3:0 down to beat AC Milan in the 2005 Champions League final, one of the most dramatic football matches of all time. The Czech player had started what became the game of his career as a substitute, but was sent on after half an hour when a team-mate got injured. Looking back over four years later, Šmicer remembers his reaction when Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez told him to get ready.
The Czech soccer player Vladimír Šmicer has enjoyed a very successful career, winning league titles in the Czech Republic and France, and a number of trophies with one of the world’s biggest clubs, Liverpool. The attacking midfielder, who is now 36, was also part of the Czech team that surprised many by reaching the final of the 1996 European Championship. I met Vladimír Šmicer at the stadium of Slavia Prague, the club where his career began in the early 1990s.
In Sports News this Monday: the Czech Republic’s Lukáš Dlouhý and India’s Leander Paes take the doubles title at the US Open, their second Grand Slam of the year; Tomáš Rosický scores on an impressive return for Arsenal – former international team-mate Vladimír Šmicer tells us he hopes Rosický can avoid injury all season; Czechs Barbora Špotáková and Jaroslav Bába take silver medals in the javelin and high jump at the World Athletics Final; and Vítkovice top the table after three rounds of the new Extraliga season.
In Sports News this Monday: Czech hopes of reaching the 2010 World Cup recede further after a 2:2 draw with Slovakia; striker Jan Koller retires for good after a disappointing game in Bratislava; the unseeded Petra Kvitová takes a big “scalp” at the US Open – world number one Dinara Safina; and the Czech ice hockey squad start an “Olympic” season by winning their first Euro Hockey Tour competition in many years.
The Czech Republic’s footballers are currently preparing for their most important match in a long time – a clash with Slovakia on Saturday that they have to win to keep alive their hopes of reaching next year’s World Cup. Record goal scorer Jan Koller has come out of international retirement for the big game, while playmaker Tomáš Rosický is also back, though it’s not clear whether he’ll be fit. So what’s the mood like in the Czech camp ahead of what’s sure to be an intense match in Bratislava? That’s a question I put to goalkeeper Petr Čech.