Sports News

By Ian Willoughby

It's just a month now till the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics and the top Czech cross country skier Katerina Neumannova has triumphed again. Neumannova came first in the 1500 metre free sprint at Val di Femme, Italy at the weekend. That's her second victory out of three sprints in the World Cup - in the other she came second. Neumannova also came fourth in the combined race at the weekend and those results put her back at number one in the World Cup rankings.

Football now and the Bohemians defender Martin Horak was seriously injured in a collision with a team-mate during a tournament on astro-turf in Prague on Saturday. Horak was knocked unconscious and swallowed his tongue before being carried off the pitch covered in blood. Horak has since regained consciousness and is undergoing tests in hospital.

While the former boss of the Czech football association Frantisek Chvalovsky faces charges of large-scale fraud and was released on bail recently, another former top Czech FA man Jan Gottwald is on the run from the police! Gottwald, who is the director of the club Drnovice, also faces charges of fraud. He has been in hiding for over two months.

Moving on to ice hockey, and after the weekend's Extraliga games Sparta Prague lead the table once again. They beat Trinec away 5:2. Sparta have a three point lead and a game in hand over second place Zlin, who went down 4:3 at home to Karlovy Vary. Third place Pardubice beat Vsetin 4:2.

Tennis now and the Czech player Daniela Bedanova lost to world number nine, Amelie Mauresmo of France 6-3 7-6 in the first round of the Sydney International on Sunday. In men's tennis Radek Stepanek and Jiri Novak both lost in the quarter finals of the ATP Tour's Qatar Open in Doha, while Bohdan Ulihrach was knocked out in the semi-finals.

And finally rally driving - and two Czech Tatra trucks are currently taking part in the Dakar Rally. The all Czech Tatra Team, led by Karel Loprais - who has won the competition six times - are in second place. The other Tatra truck - containing the BR Lubrax team, two of whom are Czech - ended the latest stage in fourth place. The rally is due to end on Sunday.