Sports News

By Peter Smith

Honours abound for a number of Czech players in the American NHL. Goaltender Dominik Hasek of the Buffalo Sabres and winger Jaromir Jagr of the Pittsburgh Penguins have both been voted as starters for the 51st All-Star Game, to be played at the Pepsi Centre in Denver on 4th February.

They'll also be two more Czechs on the bench - Roman Cechmanek, the Philadelphia Flyers goaltender, and the Ottawa Senators centre Radek Bonk. Cechmanek has double reasons to celebrate - he's been voted the NHL's Player of the Week.

Tennis now and in spite of a brave fight Bohdan Ulihrach still tumbled out of the Australian Open after a 7-6 7-6 4-6 7-5 defeat to the American Pete Sampras. The former world number one broke the Czechs serve late in the 4th set to set up a meeting with Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela in the third round.

There's one third-round match to look forward to on Friday - the Indian Open champion, Michal Tabara, will put his wits against the number two seed down under, the Russian Marat Safin.

Some notable results in the second round for the Czech women too. Daja Bedanova packed Anabel Medina Garrigues off back to Spain with 6-2 4-6 6-4 victory, and Denisa Chladkova brought the curtain down on the 13-year career of Sabine Appelmans, overcoming the Belgian in straight sets.

Back home now and the Czech Olympic Committee has reelected Milan Jirasek for a second term as its President. The 64-year-old surgeon - who has held the post since 1996 - ran for reelection unopposed.

Finally, the former president of Sparta Prague Football Club has been sentenced to five years in prison for tax offences. Petr Mach was convicted of failing to declare the 300,000 Czech crowns that he should have paid on a Ferrari sports car.