Sports News

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By Peter Smith

Yes, it's the sport and it's nice to report on another gold medal for the Czech Republic at the World Athletics Championships in Edmonton, Canada. Jan Zelezny - the three time Olympic javelin champion and world record holder - won his third World title with a giant throw of 92.80 metres. The major surprise of the event, though, was the failure of British thrower Steve Backley, Zelenzny's great friend and rival, to qualify for the final round.

'I feel for Steve Backley,' Zelezny said after. 'I haven't qualified in the past and it is very hard. But he's my best friend in the javelin and he'll be back'.

The win adds to the Czech's two previous World Championship gold medals in 1993 and 1995, and confirms the so-called 'Iron Man' as the greatest exponent the sport has ever seen. For the record, Aki Parviainen of Finland took the silver and the Greek thrower Konstadinos Gatsiozdis the bronze.

That other Czech gold medallist in Canada, Tomas Dvorak, returned to a heroes' welcome at Prague's Ruzyne airport on Friday. As the decathlete showed-off his third successive World Championship gold to the admiring press, I asked him whether - following his disappointing showing at the Sydney Olympics - he was surprised by his performance in Edmonton.

"It's not a surprise for me, because I prepared for this competition and I hoped and believed for these points. The world record is my dream, my next dream yes, and I start training for it for the Good Will Games in Brisbane and I will try for it there. "

Tomas Dvorak there, talking about his next goal - the world decathlon record, rather annoyingly held at the moment by his compathriot Roman Sebrle.

Turning to football and it has finally been confirmed the young Czech starlet Milan Baros has finally completed his will he, won't he $4.8 million move from Banik Ostrava to English Premier League giants Liverpool. It's not that simple, of course - Baros will only be able to play for the English team once he has obtained a work permit from the British authorities. And that depends upon the 19-year-old adding substantially to his two international caps over the next few months - over to you, Czech Republic coach Josef Chovanec.

Until, then, Baros can only sit it out and enjoy the delights of Ostrava. Not that it seems to be bothering him that much - he banged in two goals at the weekend as Banik beat visitors Jablonec by three goals to nil. Three teams now have maximum points from three matches - Baros' Banik Ostrava, Bohemians of Prague and Slovan Liberec. Liberec notched up the shock of the weekend by winning 2-1 at Sparta Prague. One win and two defeats for the Czech champions - just what is going on at Letna?