By Nick Carey.
Time for the sports roundup now, and we'll start off with a look at how the Czechs fared at the European short-course swimming championships in Valencia in Spain, a four-day event that came to an end on Sunday.
The first medal for the Czechs came on the very first day, with a bronze for Kvetoslav Svoboda in the men's 400 metres freestyle, almost a full eight seconds after the winner of the event Massimiliano Rosolino of Italy.
The second day of the championships brought three medals for the Czechs, a gold, a silver, and a bronze. Jana Pechanova took the bronze in the women's 800 metres freestyle, four seconds behind the winner, Chantal Strasser of Switzerland. Daniel Malek earned himself silver in the men's 100 metres, finishing less than a second after Domenico Fioravanti of Italy. And the first Czech gold went to Ilona Hlavackova in the women's 100 metres freestyle.
Day three brought the Czechs another silver and two gold medals. Jana Pechanova took the silver in the women's 400 metres freestyle, in a surprise defeat to fifteen-year-old Russian Irina Ufimtseva. Ilona Hlavackova earned her second gold in the women's 50 metres backstroke, but it was the men's 50 metres backstroke that was the talk of the tournament, as Daniel Malek of the Czech Republic, Mark Warnecke of Germany and Domenico Fioravanti of Italy all finished the race in an identical time of 27.11 seconds. The gold medal was split between the three men, the first time this has ever happened in a major swimming tournament.
The last day brought to two more medals for the Czechs, a bronze for Daniel Malek in the men's 200 metres breaststroke, and a silver for Kvetoslav Svoboda, who was again pipped at the post by Massimiliano Rosolino. The final total for the Czechs at the end of the championships was three gold, three silver, and three bronze medals, ranking them fourth in the overall medals' table.
Over to ice hockey now, and the Czechs got off to a flying start at the Baltic Cup in Moscow, with a 4:2 victory over Sweden. The game was tied 1:1 at the end of the first period, the Czechs went 2:1 up in the second, and despite a second goal from Sweden in the third, they slotted in another two goals to make defeat for the Swedes a certainty. The Czech goal scorers were Viktor Hubl, Kamil Piros, Viktor Ujcik and Ales Kotalik. This first game puts the Czechs at the top of the day after the first day of play in the Baltic Cup tournament.
And finally to football, and Lazio Rome centre forward and captain of the Czech national team, Pavel Nedved, has won the Czech Golden Football award for the year 2000. The player of the year is selected by journalists, and Nedved ended up with 2,545 points, a good six hundred points clear of runner up Jan Koller, who plays for the Brussels side Anderlecht. Although he greatly appreciates the award, Pavel Nedved will not, however, be able to pick it up in person on January 6th, as Lazio Rome has a fixture that day.