Sports News

By Peter Smith

Yes it's the sport and let's begin with the 7th International Prague Marathon which took place on the cobbled streets of the Czech capital on Sunday. In near perfect running conditions, the 3,500 competitors gathered on the starting line on Prague's Old Town Square, but it was the professionals from Africa that once again came out on top. In a refreshing alteration, though it was the Tanzanian runner Andrew Sambu that broke the tape in a time of 2.10:14. The Czech race was won by Jan Blaha of the team Sokol Ceske Budejovice, who finished 9th overall.

There was a surprise in the women's race where the Russian favourite and winner of the London marathon, Alina Ivanova, was upstaged by the Maura Viceconte - the Italian finishing in 2.26:33... a new course record. The Czech title was taken by Alena Peterkova from the Havirov, who finished third in the marathon overall.

Moving onto football and Jan Koller signed off from Belgian football in style at the weekend, scoring a couple of goals as the champions Anderlecht destroyed lowly Eendracht Aalst 5-1. The lanky Czech striker finalized his on-off transfer to the English club Fulham last week, signing for $11.5 million. There had been stiff competition for Koller from the Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund - however the German's sports director Michael Zorc commented last week that the transfer fee Anderlecht expected was more than his club were prepared to pay.

There must be something in the water over in England, anyway, because another Czech footballer has reiterated his intention to join the Premiership champions Manchester United. The captain of the Czech national team Pavel Nedved told the British newspaper the Daily Mirror that his one remaining ambition is to help the English giants win the Champions League - this in spite of Nedved still having a year to run on his contract with Italian club Lazio. "After five or six years in Italy," said Nedved, "it's time for me to go - and I want that opportunity before it's too late."

The Serie A club may be tempted to sell the 28 year old midfielder in the summer - if they wait until Nedved's contract expires, the Czech is entitled to walk out of the club for free on Bosman.

Finally to tennis and the final of the $140,000 Benelux WTA Open in Brussels. Klara Koukalova was sadly beaten at the last hurdle - the Czech going down 6-3, 6-2 to the number 5 seed from Germany Barbara Rittner.