Sports News

Jiri Novak, photo: CTK

In Sports News: Tomas Berdych is again named Czech tennis player of the year; the Czech volleyball team lose their first two games in the last-8 group stage at the world championships; speed skater Martina Sablikova again reaches the podium in a world cup event; cross country skier Katerina Neummanova finishes fourth in Finland; and Sparta Prague lead the Czech football league but have next to no chance of advancing in the UEFA Cup - or of signing Jan Koller.

Czech tennis player of year for second time in row

Jiri Novak,  photo: CTK
Tomas Berdych has won the Golden Canary for best Czech tennis player for the second year in a row. The 21-year-old reached the world top ten for the first time in 2006, as did Czech women's number one Nicole Vaidisova; she came second in the poll run by Tenis magazine and the Czech tennis union. Jiri Novak received a special award at Saturday's Golden Canary ceremony - Novak, who is 31, recently played his final top-level tournament.

Volleyball team lose opening games in world championships last-8 group stage

The Czech volleyball team have lost their opening two games in the last-8 group stage at the Volleyball World Championships in Hiroshima, Japan. The Czechs were beaten 3:0 by France in their first group match and by the same score-line by Brazil in their second.

Another medal position for speed skater Sablikova

The Czech speed skater Martina Sablikova has come third in her preferred distance of 5,000 m at a World Cup meeting in Moscow. In Holland two weeks ago Sablikova reached the podium in the competition for the first time in her career, again with third place, in the 3000m.

Neumannova finishes fourth in Finland

Katerina Neumannova,  photo: CTK
Czech cross country skier Katerina Neumannova finished fourth in the 10 km classic in a World Cup event in Finland's Kuusamo on Saturday. Neumannova is also fourth overall in the World Cup standings, with four of 27 races completed.

Liberec, Boleslav can advance in UEFA Cup, Sparta's chances next to zero

There are three Czech football teams in the group stage of the UEFA Cup; Slovan Liberec still have a chance of reaching the knock-out stage - they beat Grasshopper Zurich 4:1 at home on Thursday, and have four points from three matches. Meanwhile, Mlada Boleslav's 1:1 away draw with Rapid Bucharest gave them their first point in two games. But Sparta Prague have almost zero chance of going through: a 0:0 home draw with Ajax Amsterdam on Thursday gave them their first point in three outings.

Sparta further ahead in Czech league

Back in the Czech domestic league, Sparta are now three points clear of the pack, after a 1:0 win over Plzen on Sunday. Liberec - who are second - drew 1:1 with Banik Ostrava, while third-placed Mlada Boleslav were held 2:2 at home by bottom-of-the-table Slovacko.

Banik Ostrava -  Liberec,  photo: CTK
Next weekend's league games are the last before the winter break. Sincerest apologies for a mistake last Monday when I said it had already begun - it was merely the half-way point in the season, not the break. Sorry.

Koller says no to return to Sparta

One player who won't be changing clubs during the winter break is Jan Koller. Sparta Prague are interested in luring the giant forward from Monaco. But Koller, currently making a comeback from injury, says he intends to see out the next 18 months of his two-year contract.

Liberec go top of Czech ice hockey league

In the Czech ice hockey Extraliga the Liberec White Tigers went top in the 27th round of the season on Sunday. They beat Karlovy Vary 6:2. Ceske Budejovice were dislodged from top-spot after losing 2:1 to Trinec.