Sports News

By Nick Carey

Yes indeed, it's time for the sports roundup. Tennis first, and the glory days of yesteryear must seem very far away for Czech tennis, as one by one the country's young hopefuls have all been knocked out of international tournaments this week.

We'll start with the Heineken Trophy in Den Bosch in Holland, where in the first round of the men's singles, Martin Damm succumbed in straight sets to Holland's John Van Lotum 7-5, 7-6. Tomas Zib fared better, seeing off another Dutchman, Edwin Klempes in style, 6-4, 6-1. Zib went onto the second round, but his luck ran out there, as he was beaten by Sjeng Schalken, yet another Dutchman, 7-6, 6-3.

The news was also bad in the first round of the women's tournament, as Denisa Chladkova was defeated after a struggle by Slovakia's Henrieta Nagyova 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, and Sandra Kleinova was swiftly despatched by Meilen Tu of the US, 6-1, 6-4. So, no Czechs left in the Heineken Trophy, but no doubt there was plenty of free beer on tap to drown their sorrows.

Meanwhile, it was also bad news for young Czech hopeful Daja Bedanova in the Eastbourne International WTA tournament in England, as she went out in straight sets in the first round, beaten by France's Anne-Gaelle Sidot, 6-2, 7-5. Less than a week until Wimbledon, and many a Czech must be wondering Navratilova and Lendl where are you now?

Football now, and the World Cup Youth tournament is underway in Argentina, and the Czechs have not got off to an auspicious start in Group D, drawing 0-0 with Angola. Australia tops the group after beating Japan 2-0. The Czechs will now play Australia before their third and final group game against Japan, and they really need to win both to top the group, or at least secure themselves second place. And of course, they need to hope that Angola slips up somewhere along the way.

And finally, the career of Czech shot-putter Miroslav Menc could end in disaster, as preliminary tests show he has proven positive for the banned substance norandrosteron. If a second round of tests proves positive, Menc faces a two-year ban from competing. Menc maintains his innocence but unfortunately, he already has experience of positive drug tests. He received a two-year ban in 1998 for taking the anabolic steroid stanozol. Menc is 30 now, and although he has shown great promise recently, experts believe that after a two year ban, he'll have passed his peak.