01-06-2001

By Nick Carey

Yes, it's time for the sport now, and we'll start with the French Open. In the women's singles tournament, three out of the five Czechs competing made it through the first round, and the second round was also mostly good news. Daja Bedanova edged past Germany's Andrea Glass 4-6 7-5 6-0, and Denisa Chladkova beat Anne Kremer of Luxembourg 4-6 6-2 6-3, but it was quelle domage for Lenka Nemeckova as she was defeated 6-4 6-3 by Russian Lina Krasnoroutskaya.

Just like in the women's tournament, five Czechs started in the men's singles, but only two of them made it through the first round, Bohdan Ulihrach and Jiri Novak. Both of them did well in the second round, as Ulihrach won against Mariano Puerta of Argentina 2-6 6-3 6-3 6-3, and it was mais oui bien sur for Jiri Novak as he defeated Frenchman Cedric Pioline 2-6 6-4 6-2 7-5.

Football now, and Viktoria Zizkov were the surprise winners of the Czech cup final this week, beating favourites Sparta Prague 2-1. Ludek Straceny put Zizkov in the lead with a goal after 14 minutes. Sparta managed to equalise in the 32nd minute with a shot from Jiri Janosek, but opportunities to attain an historic league and cup double eluded Sparta throughout the second half, when heavy rain made playing very difficult, and in the end it was Vitkoria Zizkov that took the title, with a golden goal from Ales Pikl in the 98th minute.

And speaking of Sparta Prague, coach Ivan Hasek announced earlier this week that he is leaving the team to go to French side Racing Strasbourg on a two-year contract. Hasek played at Strasbourg from 1990-95, before ending his career at Sparta in 1997. In his two years as coach, he has guided Sparta to two consecutive league titles. Sparta moved fast to find a replacement for Hasek, and late on Thursday it was announced that Jablonec coach Jaroslav Hrebik is to take his place.

Still on football, as preparations continue for the Czech Republic's World Cup qualifiers against Denmark in Copenhagen on Saturday, national team coach Josef Chovanec has called in Pribram's goalkeeper Michal Spit to replace Tomas Postulka who is out injured. Another injury that is causing concern is that of team captain Pavel Nedved. Nedved has hurt his ankle, and he says it's fifty-fifty as to whether he'll play.

And finally to athletics and the interestingly named Golden Spike international meeting in Ostrava and the Czechs have already done well for themselves in front of the home crowd. In the men's events, Radek Zachoval took first place in the 200 metres, Jiri Muzik came third in the 400 metres hurdles, Jan Janku won the high jump and Miroslav Menc and Petr Stehlik came second and third respectively in the shot put event. And of course it was good news again for three-time Olympic champion Jan Zelezny, who came first in the javelin event, with a throw of 89.47 metres, just 53cm short of his personal target of 90 metres.

So far in the women's events Pavla Hamackova has come third in the pole vault, but there's more to come, and we'll bring you those results in the next sports roundup.

01-06-2001