By Peter Smith
The sport now and the Czech Republic waltzed into the quarter-finals of the World Hockey Championships in Germany with two victories over the weekend. Saturday saw the crunch clash between the reigning champions and the team they beat in the 1998 Olympic final, Russia. In a see-saw affair, the Czechs let slip a two goal advantage before going 3-2 down with Yuri Kuznetsov's strike for Russia in the 4th minute of the final period. However, two goals in the space of 55 seconds from Radek Dvorak and Jiri Dopita gave the Czechs victory and ensured their place in the last eight.
Poor Andrea Carpano was the Czechs next victim on Sunday. The Italian goaltender conceded 11 goals - seven in second period - as Josef Augusta's team romped to another victory. Martin Prochazka, Viktor Ujcik and Dvorak each scored twice in what can only be described as a very embarrassing day at the office for the Italians. The result leaves the Czechs level on points at the top of Group E with their final group opponents, Canada.
So, whilst the hockey players were whooping it up in Hanover, a little further south, the Czech tennis player Jiri Novak was celebrating his first ATP title in three years at the Munich Open. Novak overcame the little-known French player Anthony Dupuis 6-4, 7-5. The Czech - ranked 125th in the ATP Champions Race came from a break down in the first set and then broke Dupuis in the 11th game of the second to record his first tournament success since Mexico back in 1998. Novak, who beat countryman Bohdan Ulihrach in the semi-finals, put the victory down to two important factors - a new workout regime and the fact that his wife is expecting twins - 'I didn't even think that I would be in the final,' he said. 'Thinking about the babies was great for my motivation.'
Finally, a member of Skoda Rally team suffered serious injuries at the weekend when he was hit by an overturned fire-truck during the second leg of the Rally of Argentina in Cordoba. Dr. Jens Pohlman, an engineering director, was airlifted to a local hospital where he received treatment for skull and internal injuries - his condition has been described as stable.
The firetruck rolled onto two Skoda cars and the accident would have been much worse had drivers Armin Schwarz and Bruno Thiry not been waiting a time queue when it occurred.