The Czech Republic's Under 20 ice hockey team has been knocked out in the semi-finals of the World Championships in Grand Forks, USA, after losing 3:1 to tournament favourites Canada. The Czechs were poor in offense for the first two periods, finally getting their only goal in the 44th minute through Rostislav Olesz, who has scored six goals in five games. He and his team-mates face either the US or Russia in a game to decide third place.
In the Extraliga, Znojmo were beaten 4:3 by Vitkovice on Sunday in their first game since star player Patrik Elias left for the Russian league. Meanwhile, Kladno versus Pilsen was a very dramatic encounter: Kladno were losing 3:4 going into the final period but managed to get two goals to turn game around.
The Czech tennis number one, Jiri Novak, says he is not planning to retire soon but he has announced he will take part in just a limited number of tournaments this year. Novak is taking the whole month of January off, and will miss the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, the Australian Open. Three years ago he reached the semi-finals in Melbourne, the biggest Grand Slam success of his 11-year career.
Martina Navratilova, meanwhile, is taking part in the doubles in the women's tournament in Australia's Gold Coast. And over a decade after retiring from singles tennis, Navratilova says she may play singles later this season, depending on the court surface. The 48-year-old Czech-born legend told a news conference last week that she did not want to blow her own trumpet but she is still "damn good".
Jiri Welsch, the only Czech player in basketball's NBA, is having an up and down time at the Boston Celtics. In the first game of the New Year, Welsch was Celtics second top scorer with 14 points, though his team lost 100:88 at Detroit. In the Celtics' previous game Welsch scored 10 points in 20 minutes as they beat Washington, ending a run of three defeats in a row.
Sigma Olomouc goalkeeper Martin Vaniak has become the unofficial world champion in saving free kicks after winning a tournament in Marbella, Spain. Vaniak faced 36 shots from 18, 22 and 25 metres in the final of the competition, which included such players as Valencia goalie Santiago Canizares and Real Madrid megastar Zinedine Zidane.
Sparta and Slavia Prague, the biggest rivals in Czech football, face each other in old boys derbies every New Year's Eve and this year was no exception; in the over 35s category Slavia won 7:4, while the over 50s drew 4:4.
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