Sports News

Ondřej Pála (left), photo: CTK

Hockey’s Jaromír Jágr is bound for Russia after an illustrious career in the NHL; future Hall of Famer Dominik Hašek touches down in Czech Rep; Football’s Saturn Moscow eye Czech striker Václav Svěrkoš; the Czech Olympic team readies for Beijing; Kreuziger 37th after first two stages of cycling’s Tour de France.

Jágr heads for Russian Continental Hockey League

Jaromír Jágr,  photo: CTK
After 17 seasons, Czech hockey superstar Jaromír Jágr has played what may very well be his last match in the NHL. Late last week the player signed with Russia’s Avangard Omsk in the Russian Continental Hockey League (which replaced the Super league) – a team he played for during the NHL’s 2004/2005 lockout. The signing came a day after the New York Rangers announced they were moving ahead without Jágr, signing Markus Naslud instead. Jágr, who is 36, called his decision to move to Russia one of the toughest in his life, admitting he “hated changes”. Over his years in the NHL, Jágr twice won the Stanley Cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins and at just 19 he became the youngest player to score in the finals. His deal with Omsk will see him play two years in Russia with a one-year option.

Hašek returns to Czech Republic

Goalie Dominik Hašek, the two-time Stanley Cup winner and future hall of famer who retired from hockey last month, has returned home to the Czech Republic. He and his family arrived from the US on Saturday. The legendary player told journalists he was now looking forward to new challenges in his sports apparel business. Prior to leaving the US, Hašek and fellow team mates from the Red Wings celebrated this year’s Stanley Cup win; the goalie indicated there would be more celebrations in August in the Czech Republic, when he and fellow player Jiří Hudler will each have the cup for a day. Jokingly, he told journalists that cup minder who watches over the trophy would have to watch out for Hudler, who was planning a party in August where there was sure to be plenty of slivovice (Czech plum brandy).

Football: Lazio sign junior Silesian footballer

Libor Kozák,  photo: CTK
Libor Kozák, a 19-year-old footballer from Opava, in Silesia, has signed a five-year contract with Lazio, one of the best clubs of the first Italian division. The Rome-based club will pay a reported 1.2 million euros for the Czech forward. Libor Kozák scored 11 goals for the second-division team of Opava. The player is also on the under-19 Czech national football team.

Striker targeted by Saturn Moscow

Czech football club Baník Ostrava has revealed that team striker Václav Svěrkoš is currently in transfer talks with Saturn Moscow. Svěrkoš, who scored the opening goal at Euro 2008 in the Czech Republic's 1-0 win against Switzerland, travelled to Moscow to discuss conditions, Baník general manager Verner Lička said on the club's website. Svěrkoš, who is 24, was top scorer in the Czech Gambrinus liga last season.

Czech heavyweight beats former WBO champion

Ondřej Pála  (left),  photo: CTK
The best Czech professional boxer Ondřej Pála beat former WBO heavyweight world champion Henry Akinwande in Ankara on Friday. The Czech champion beat the Brit on points in six rounds, scoring his 20th victory. Henry Akinwande, the WBO world champion between 1996 and 1997, returned to boxing after a year’s break.

Olympic team to have at least 120 athletes

At least 120 Czech athletes will participate in the Olympic Games in Beijing in August, although that number may still go up. So far, the Czech Olympic Team includes 26 track-and-field athletes, including Roman Šeberle, the gold medallist in the decathlon from the last games in Athens, and the javelin thrower Barbora Špotáková, who has set this season’s best performance. The participants in the Games will also include Czech tennis players Tomáš Berdych and Nicole Vaidišová, as well as Lenka Śmídová who won the country’s first ever medal in sailing in 2004. The country’s participation in the games will cost around 40 million crowns (the equivalent of around 2.6 million U.S. dollars).

Kreuziger – 7 seconds off leader – in 37th spot after Tour de France opening stages

Cyclist Roman Kreuziger, who recently won the Tour of Switzerland, is currently in 37th place in the world’s most gruelling race, the Tour de France. The tour began on Saturday and sees its 3rd stage being run on Monday. Kreuziger and 23 other riders are 7 seconds off the leader Alejandro Valverde. The Tour, lasts three weeks and has 21 stages in all. Kreuziger made clear ahead of the competition that he would not set his sights too far ahead, but indicated he would evaluate the situation in terms of the standings after the first ten days.