Sports News

Radek Stepanek, photo: CTK

In Sports News: Radek Stepanek plays through the pain barrier in a tie against Switzerland to help the Czech Republic maintain their place at the top table in tennis's Davis Cup; after their successful start in the Champions League, Slavia Prague are brought back to earth with a bang by Bohemians 1905 in the Czech first division; canoeist Stepanka Hilgertova takes bronze at the Slalom World Championships; and world champion Barbora Spotakova extends her own Czech record in the javelin.

Stepanek hero of hour as Czechs secure place in Davis Cup elite group

Radek Stepanek,  photo: CTK
Czech tennis player Radek Stepanek was the hero of the hour at the weekend, when his valiant exploits ensured that the Czech Republic secured its place in the elite World Group in the Davis Cup. The Czechs were drawing 2:2 with a Swiss team featuring Roger Federer when Stepanek took on Stanislas Wawrinka to decide the tie in Prague.

Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek,  photo: CTK
Twice in the past Stepanek had cost the Czechs victory by losing a fifth Davis Cup rubber, and it appeared the 28-year-old would again be unlucky on Sunday when his knee buckled in the third set; it was the kind of injury which would normally result in a withdrawal.

But spurred on by the sell-out home crowd, Stepanek, wearing a Czech-flag shirt, soldiered on to take the set and match and spark euphoria at the Sazka Arena. Radek Stepanek's heroism has won many plaudits, with one of Monday's papers even calling for a statue of the player to be erected outside the venue!

For all the elation, however, it is not clear whether Stepanek - who has often in the past refused to play for the Czech team - will take part in the Davis Cup again. The player agreed to return for the tie with Switzerland, but whether he will continue to make himself available has apparently not been discussed.

Bohemians burst Slavia's bubble as Teplice and Ostrava also falter

Disappointed players of Slavia Prague,  photo: CTK
After notching up all three points last week in their first ever Champions League game, Slavia Prague came back to earth with a bang on Sunday, when they lost 2:0 away to city rivals Bohemians 1905 in Czech football's top division. Slavia's first defeat of the season coincided with similar results for top of the table rivals Teplice and Banik Ostrava; the former, who lead the league, lost 1:0 away to Zlin, while the latter, in third, were beaten 1:0 at home by Olomouc. Sparta Prague were due to play after the recording of our programme.

Bronze for Hilgertova at Slalom World Championships in Brazil

Stepanka Hilgertova
The great Czech canoeist Stepanka Hilgertova may be 39 years old, but she clearly still has what it takes to mix it with the best of them - at the weekend Hilgertova took bronze in the women's K1 category at the Slalom World Championships at Brazil's Foz do Iguassu.

Spotakova extends Czech women's javelin record

Barbora Spotakova,  photo: CTK
Barbora Spotakova continues to go from strength to strength. At a meeting in Stuttgart she set a new Czech women's record in the javelin of 67.12 metres; that's five centimetres longer than the record Spotakova set on her way to a world champion's medal in Osaka recently.