The Czech Republic’s footballers have greatly boosted their chances of reaching Euro 2020 after beating England 2:1 in Prague. Friday night’s game was a genuine fairy tale for Zdeněk Ondrášek, who at the age of 30 scored on his debut to claim victory. For his part, England’s Harry Maguire described the strike as a sucker punch, admitting his side hadn’t deserved to take an early lead.
Sport has always played a big role in Czech life. At the time of the national revival in the 19th century, the Sokol gymnastics movement was founded on the idea that a healthy body was a recipe not only for a healthy mind, but also for a civilised nation. In this episode of our series drawing from the archives, we hear recordings from the huge Sokol gathering of 1938 and from the Spartakiáda displays of mass callisthenics that replaced Sokol during the communist period. We also feature an ice hockey report from the Olympics in 1936, as well as Europe’s
This year’s Wimbledon has been a successful tournament for Czech tennis in the doubles category. Barbora Strýcová won the women’s competition with her Taiwanese partner Hsieh Su-wei, a feat that simultaneously propelled her to world number one status. There is also hope of upcoming talent in the men’s category as a Czech duo won the junior doubles for the first time ever.
Nine Czech female singles players started this year’s Wimbledon tennis tournament, two of them in the world top 10. However, the only one left standing is a name few would have expected, Barbora Strýcová. The 33-year-old is now preparing to face Serena Williams in her first ever Grand Slam semi-final.
A new National Sport Agency is due to be established in the Czech Republic taking over responsibilities for sports funding from the Ministry of Education. The Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday outvoted by a narrow margin the Senate’s veto of a draft bill seeking to create the agency. Its main aim is to create a new system of funding for Czech sport.
Football goalkeeper Petr Čech, who may well be the most famous Czech on the planet, will retire after a last appearance for Arsenal in the final of the Europa League on Wednesday. In a twist of fate, the game will be against Chelsea, the club with he won which virtually every prize going. To discuss his amazing career, I spoke to football journalist Karel Haering. He was first struck by Petr Čech in 2009 when he began appearing for Chmel Blšany at 17 – and offers this assessment of the qualities that took him to the top and kept him there.