Some sportsmen and women seem to always do better at particular venues, and that is certainly the case with Czech decathlete Roman Serble, who on Sunday took gold at a meeting in Goetzis, Austria for a record fourth time. What's more, Sebrle notched up the second highest points tally of his career in Goetzis, where he had previously become the first person in the history of the decathlon to break the 9,000 points barrier. This time Roman Sebrle was 184 points short of his own record, but he was not complaining, saying he was 200 percent satisfied with his performance. He will also have been pleased to finish ahead of his main rival, Tom Pappas of the US, just two and a half months ahead of the Olympic Games in Athens.
Sebrle's Czech colleague Tomas Dvorak finished seventh in the decathlon at Goetzis, after suffering Achilles' heel problems on the second day of the event. Dvorak, a three-time world champion, said he would have pulled out except for the fact he needed to secure qualification for the Olympics.
It seems to have become an unfortunate tradition at Grand Slam events in recent times that no Czechs make it to the second week, and that is once again the case at the French Open, where the last remaining Czech, Denisa Chladkova, was knocked out on Saturday. Chladkova was beaten 6-3 7-6 in the third round by the sixth seed, Anastasia Myskina of Russia.
And Martina Navratilova has ruled out appearing at this year's Wimbledon, after being beaten soundly in her first Grand Slam singles game in a decade in the first round of the French Open. Navratilova, who is 47, lost to Gisela Duklo of Argentina, who was not even alive when the Czech-born legend twice became French Open champion. She is expected to retire after representing the United States at the Athens Olympics.
One person who will be representing the Czech Republic at the Olympics is Libor Capalini, in the modern pentathlon. The former European champion came third in the sport's World Championships in Russia at the weekend to ensure himself a place in Athens.
They may be at a training camp in the Austrian Alps, but the Czech Republic's football team are receiving huge coverage in the sports pages, just two weeks ahead of their opening game at the European Championships in Portugal. One of coach Karel Brueckner's biggest concerns is the fitness of experienced midfielder Vladimir Smicer, who has suffered one injury after another since starting last season brightly. If, as expected, Smicer remains fit, then the extra man in the squad, Miroslav Matusovic, will be sent home.
The Czech Republic's opening game at Euro 2004 is against Latvia, on June 15. The other two teams in Group D are Germany and the Netherlands. Before then Czech fans will get to see their heroes in friendlies against Bulgaria on Wednesday and Estonia next Saturday.
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