Jana Novotná, photo: Bill Mitchel

Today in Mailbox: new time slot for Radio Prague on the CBC Overnight in Canada; Orthodox churches in Prague; the Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes; we also read from the annual competition entry by Yukiko Maki from Japan. Listeners quoted: Henry de Graaf, Antonio Selvatici, Yukiko Maki.

Welcome to Mailbox. At the end of June when we announced the results of Radio Prague’s annual listeners’ competition, I promised you that we would get back to the two runners up from the English section. Today we will read an excerpt from one of the entries – by Yukiko Maki from Japan. That’s coming up later in the programme but first I have good news for our FM listeners in Canada.

We are happy to announce that listeners in Canada who tune in to Radio Prague’s programmes on FM on the CBC Overnight are now able to hear the rebroadcast of our entire programme seven days a week, at the beginning of Overnight’s third hour, ahead of the BBC.

Now let’s get on to your letters. This e-mail from Henry de Graaf arrived from the Czech Republic:

“I am a Dutch citizen and my fiancé is from Loznica in Serbia and we both moved to Prague two weeks ago. We are looking for an Orthodox church in Prague. Please can you please help us out?”

There are a few Orthodox churches in Prague. The largest and best-known is the church of Cyril and Methodius in Resslova Street in Prague 2. Not far from there, also in Prague 2 in Na Slupi Street you can find the church of the Virgin Mary. Another Orthodox church open for believers is in Olšanské cemetery, that’s the church of Our Lady’s Death. And there is also the historic wooden church of St. Michael in Kinského Park in Prague 5 but it is not regularly open to visitors.

Antonio Selvatici from Italy sent us this query:

“I'm an Italian journalist. I am searching for information about a group of Italian terrorists who reportedly stayed in your country in the 1970s. Do you have any idea if is possible to search the StB archives? Or is there a book, or articles or a web site dedicated to the situation?”

I suggest you get in touch with the newly established Institute for the Study of Totalitarian Regimes. They will be able to direct you further.

And now, as promised, here is an extract from Yukiko Maki’s annual competition entry – about the tennis player Jana Novotná.

Jana Novotná, photo: Bill Mitchel
“I have been an avid tennis fan, and have been watching many professional tennis matches in the world. It was 1993 that I noted a rising tennis player from the Czech Republic on the center court of Wimbledon. This sportsperson on the rise was Jana Novotná, and she was going to play against the then-champion Steffi Graf.

At the final match with Graf, she lost the first set, but continued to win the next set and four games in the third set. It seemed that she was almost going to beat Graf and to become the winner of the Wimbledon Championships. There was no doubt about that, in the eyes of the audience.

However, something unexpected happened after that. She began to lose her concentration and control. The weight of the big title might have put too heavy a pressure on her. She made mistakes consecutively, and at the end, let the chance of a glorious victory slip away.

I couldn’t believe what was happening on the court, but came to realize and shared her feeling when she cried on the shoulder of Duchess of Kent at the closing ceremony. I did not think her action was disgraceful. It was the natural reaction to her true emotion. Even if she was getting big and famous, she still was just a human like any of us... struggling to overcome the weak and fragile side of us. She tried hard to conquer it, but failed in the end. I could understand her regrets because it could happen to anybody.

Sometimes all efforts cannot be paid off, but you have to cope with it. She taught this important lesson to us through her entire tennis career. She did not end up as a loser of Wimbledon. She never gave in and gave up. Finally she managed to overcome her weakness, and gained the long-awaited victory when she became the winner at Wimbledon in 1998.

Czech tennis player Jana Novotná showed us how fragile we could be in the spotlight, and how we could be strong enough to overcome our weak self. That's why she touched my heart deeply and became the most impressive Czech sportsperson to me.”

That was an extract from Yukiko Maki’s competition answer. Next week, we’ll read from the entry by Greg MacDonald from Canada.

And finally, still on the subject of notable Czech sportspeople, here is our competition question for July.

This Czech footballer was born in Vienna in 1913. During his career he scored more goals than any other Czech football player and is often cited as the best footballer ever.

Please, send us the name of this legendary forward – and a few facts about him if you like – to the usual address or Radio Prague, 12099 Prague. Thanks for listening today and until next week, take care.