By Peter Smith
Only one sports story is dominating the headlines here in the Czech Republic, and it's the news that the Czech decathlete Roman Sebrle has become the first man to break through the 9,000 points barrier in the event. Competing at an athletics meeting in Goetzis, Austria the Olympic silver medallist clocked a new world record of 9,026 points in the decathlon, ironically breaking the 8,994 set in summer 1999 by his Czech compatriot Tomas Dvorak.
'I began to think I'd make the 9,000 after the 7th discipline,' said the 26 year old. 'I realized it was possible as long as I ran fast in the 1,500.' Sebrle did, notching up a time of 4:21.98 in the final event. 'Those last 300 metres didn't come from sheer strength alone,' Sebrle said, 'but from willpower.'
Turning to football and one seemingly interminable transfer saga has finally been resolved, with Borussia Dortmund having finally beaten English team Fulham to the signature of the Czech striker Jan Koller. The German club revealed on Friday that Koller had signed from Anderlecht on a four-year contract, although both clubs are refusing to release precise details of the transfer fee. It is believed to be between 7 - 8 millon British pounds.
The move will surely disappoint the fans of ambitious Fulham, who have just been promoted to the English Premier League. Last Friday, the London club were declaring that they had signed the giant striker.
Although Fulham had reached an agreement with Anderlecht over the transfer fee, Koller had in fact not agreed personal terms. Although the contracts offered to the Czech by Fulham and Dortmund were almost identical, the Germans won the day with their ability to offer Koller Champions League football next season.
Koller may also have been influenced Tomas Rosicky, the Czech midfielder who plays for the Bundesliga giants - however there were other factors though, as the player's agent Pavel Paska said - 'Koller also agreed with his girlfriend that Dortmund is - after all - closer to home that Fulham's London base.' Yes.. they must have mulled over the map of Europe for hours to come to that conclusion!
Anyway, well done to Slavia Prague - after a troubled first half to their Gambrinus League season, Slavia secured the runner-up place to Sparta and subsequent entry to the qualifying round of the European Champions League courtesy of a 2-1 victory at Drnovice. Sigma Olomouc will be gutted by their failure to clinch the spot, though - their dramatic single goal victory at crowned champions Sparta meant the Moravians finish level on points and goal difference with Slavia. The teams were then separated by results between them this season and unfortunately for Olomouc, Slavia did better.
So Olomouc join Pribram and Viktoria Zizkov in next season's UEFA Cup.