Sports News

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By Peter Smith

Yes, it's the sport of course and let's start with the hockey and as the Czech Republic prepares for their World Championships quarter-final showdown against Slovakia, news broke on Wednesday that the 2003 tournament will not be held in the Czech Republic after all.

Finnish hockey officials have confirmed that the Scandinavian country is willing and able to host the championships in 2003, one year ahead of their scheduled turn. The Czech Republic now look set to host the tournament in 2004, allowing the Czech Ice Hockey Federation an extra year to develop the required facilities. The agreement reached by the Czech Federation chairman Karel Gut and his Finnish counterpart Kalerv Kummela must still obtain the approval of the international body, the IIHF, which will meet in Hanover, as well as other organisations and sponsors.

Although the Czech Republic are the reigning World and Olympic champions, 2003 championships had been under threat for a while, due to the delays in the deciding the financing and location of the required new ice-arena.

Turning to football, and the name of Rosicky may be back on a Sparta Prague shirt as of next season, albeit that worn by the elder brother of Borussia Dortmund midfielder Tomas. Jiri Rosicky is presently playing his football for the Austrian league team SW Bregenz, but according to Czech newspaper reports the defensive midfielder is a target for the Gambrinus League champions.

"I know that Sparta are interested and I really wouldn't mind," Rosicky told the daily newspaper BLESK. The player is out of contract with Bregenz in the summer, and Sparta have indicated their interest in acquiring Rosicky snr. to bolster their Champions League campaign next season.

"Rosicky is one of several players we are looking at," said club president Miroslav Pelta. "No agreement has been struck yet, though."

Finally to tennis and the Czech qualifier Denisa Chladkova is through to the third round of the German Open in Berlin thanks to a lot of inspiration and a little bit of luck. On Tuesday, Chladkova shocked the 12th seed from America Chanda Rubin with a 4-6- 6-4- 6-4 first round win. Then during the Czech's second round clash with Silvia Farina Elia the following afternoon, her Italian opponent had to retire injured after losing the first set.