Czech success in a game with its roots among North America's Natives
Lacrosse is a game traditionally played in North America - originating with Native Americans - but since the late eighties Czechs have really taken to it as well. And not only have they taken to it, these days it seems they are leading they way!
But that's not all that is happening this month on the Czech lacrosse scene. Women's and juniors' teams from America, England and the Czech Republic began competing on Wednesday for the Prague Cup 2004, an annual international field lacrosse tournament hosted by the Czech Lacrosse Union.
Unfortunately lacrosse is not an Olympic sport but that won't keep the teams from competing while everyone else is packing for Athens. From 24-31 of July the Czech Republic will be hosting the European Lacrosse Championships in Prague's Slavia stadium, and they stand a good chance of a medal. Heather Bowne caught up with Petr Tahal from the Czech Lacrosse Union to find out more about the history of lacrosse in the Czech Republic, and the Czechs hopes for the coming tournament.
"The lacrosse here was started in the late eighties of our century and the first international appearance of Czech lacrosse was in nineteen ninety-three on Women's Lacrosse World Cup in Scotland in Edinburgh but the first international games were played a few years sooner. I remember in nineteen eighty-nine there was American team returning from World Cup, stopped in Prague and played a small tournament with our team and with the Sweden team."
Who brought lacrosse to the Czech Republic?
So there's actually a Czech form of lacrosse as well.
"Yes, there is a special form of Czech lacrosse. It's one handed. It's played with five players only on the field, five players plus goalie, and the field is shorter."
What are you hopes for the European Championships that will be held in Prague?
"We would like to have some medals both for men's and women's teams but it will be tough competition because the first four-five teams in Europe, both in men's and women's category are very good but we would like to have a medal, and any final appearance would be good success for us."