Czech President Miloš Zeman has said that the door of Prague Castle, the seat of the head of state, is closed to US ambassador Andrew Schapiro, according to a report by the news server Parlamentní Listy. The server said that the president’s stance was a reaction to Schapiro’s criticism of Zeman for his intention to attend celebrations in Moscow for the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. Zeman pointed out that he would not expect the Czech ambassador to Washington to presume to tell the US president where he should make his foreign trips. Zeman has said he visit to Moscow is to pay tribute to those who fell in the war and not recognition of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Most EU heads of state have said they will boycott the celebrations.
Oscar winning Czech film director Jiří Menzel has joined a group of film professions who have criticised the way Czech classic films are being saved in digital form. Menzel told public broadcaster Czech Television that said of the previous digitalisation carried out for the National Film Archive was of poor quality and he criticised the selection of films for the work. Menzel’s film Closely Observed Trains has already undergone a digital makeover. He has now offered to pay for the digital restoration of the film Cutting it Short but says that the national archive is blocking him from carrying out the work how he would like. Menzel had hoped to screen the restored film at this year’s Karlovy Vary film festival. The director of the national archive said that an agreement with Menzel allowing him to carry out the work was waiting to be signed.
In football, Synot league leaders Viktoria Plzeň have re-established a five point lead over their nearest rivals Sparta Prague after a 2:0 win against Baník Ostrava on Sunday. The first half ended goalless after Daniel Kolár missed a penalty in the 32nd minute. Tomáš Hořavá put the visitors ahead in the 59th minute with midfielder František Rajtoral adding another in the 88th minute. Second placed Sparta Prague had put the pressure on after Saturday’s 3:0 win against Hradec Králové on Saturday.
Deaflympics skier Tereza Kmochová won her fifth gold medal at the international winter games for the deaf being held in Magnitogorsk, Russia. She took her latest gold in the slalom, meaning wins in all five categories in which she competed. The 24-year-old said she had hoped to win a few medals but never expected five and all of them gold. Czech Tomáš Pazdera also won a gold medal in the snowboardcross event. The total Czech medal tally stood at six golds and one silver on April 5.
The Czech national team beat Norway 1:0 in the second warm up game for the world ice hockey championships being staged in Prague and Ostrava at the start of May. The sole goal on Saturday was scored by Dominik Simon in the 30th minute. Manager Vladimír Růžička made two changes to the team which won 4:0 on Friday, bringing in Petr Zámorský in defence and Hynek Zohorn up front. The Czechs were rarely under pressure in the match but failed to convert many of their chances. Růžička said afterwards that he was happy with the performance but added that some of the plays had been too elaborate.
In football, reigning league champions Sparta Prague kept up the pressure on top of the table Viktoria Plzeň with a 3:0 win against Hradec Králové on Saturday. It was Sparta’s first away victory so far since the winter break. Sparta striker David Lafata also ended a four game goal drought by getting on the scoring sheet. The win closes the gap on Viktoria Plzeň to two points. Plzeň travel to Baník Ostrava on Sunday with Ostrava difficult to beat at home on current form.
In ice hockey, Třinec took a 3 to 2 lead in the Extra League play-off semi-finals series against visitors Sparta Prague on Saturday night. The home team were already two goals up by the 13th minute but allowed an initially uncertain Sparta back into the game. It eventually went down the line to penalties with Třinec’s back Zbyněk Irgl scoring the decisive goal. The result means Třinec can get through to the final with victory in the next match. Litvínov already secured their place in the finals, for the first time in 19 years, on Friday night.
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