Sports News

Photo: CTK

In Sports News: the Czech ice hockey team come second in the World Championships in Riga, a result being seen by many as a real achievement for a young team; Dominik Hasek is keen to continue at Ottawa; Radek Stepanek loses in an ATP final but rises to a career-best 11 in the world rankings; and as the World Cup draws near Milan Baros says he is unworried that a number of Czech footballers had seasons they will want to forget.

Young Czech team lose final but impress many with silver medal

Photo: CTK
The Czech Republic's ice hockey team have failed to defend their title, after being beaten 4:0 by Sweden in the final of the World Championships in Riga on Sunday night. But far from being a huge disappointment, most are seeing the Czechs' silver medal as a substantial, and unexpected, success, given that the national team is in a period of transition and the squad featured several inexperienced players. Here's Czech defender Tomas Kaberle:

Alois Hadamczik,  Zbynek Michalek and Tomas Kaberle,  photo: CTK
"I think it just was a great experience for everybody. Naturally we're disappointed, and it's a pity to lose out after we went so far in the World Championships. Not many people expected we would even get through the semi-finals. But every experience is good. We had a lot of young players and games like tonight's are a motivation for next year. Everyone in the dressing room is happy with second place."

No new contract for Hadamczik...

Sunday's final was very probably Alois Hadamczik's last game as coach. In Riga Hadamczik did a lot to restore his reputation after a disappointing Olympics, but says he knows he does not figure in the Czech Hockey Union's plans for the future.

...while Hasek hopes for extension at Ottawa

By contrast, the legendary Czech goaltender Dominik Hasek says he's hoping to stay on at the Ottawa Senators after his current contract runs out next month. Hasek, who is now 41, says he has "unfinished business" at the club.

Stepanek beaten in Hamburg final but up to career-high 11 in rankings

Radek Stepanek,  photo: CTK
The Czech men's tennis number one, Radek Stepanek, reached the final of the Hamburg Masters at the weekend, only to be comprehensively beaten 1-6 3-6 3-6 by Tommy Robredo of Spain.

"I have to say my opponent played absolutely brilliantly and didn't make any mistakes at all. I had a couple of chances to get back into the game in the third set but I didn't use them. He just didn't give me a chance and I think he deserved to win."

Despite being beaten Radek Stepanek has something to be cheerful about: he's now up to a career-high 11th place in the ATP Tour singles rankings. Further success should make him the first Czech since Jiri Novak to break into the world top ten.

As Germany 2006 approaches Baros is unworried by mixed fortunes of Czech players during season

Vratislav Lokvenc and Milan Baros,  photo: CTK
The Czech football squad are currently at their pre-World Cup training camp at Seefeld in Austria. Just before they left, striker Milan Baros said he wasn't concerned about the fact a number of Czech players have been out injured, while others had less than ideal seasons.

"No, I'm not worried about that. I think the best thing is that Jan Koller is back, and he scored two goals in the league now [in Dortmund's last game of the season]. I think that's the biggest lift for us, because without him it's not the Czech team. I think everything's going to be OK. All the key players are ready."

Tens of thousands of Czech fans will be cheering on Milan Baros and his team-mates in Germany in a few weeks' time. Does the player think the fact the World Cup is being held in Europe is an advantage?

"Maybe, a little bit, maybe. But I don't think it's the main reason or something like that. Of course it's nice to play in Europe because you can have fans there, more fans than if it is in Africa or Asia or somewhere like that. Of course there is maybe a little advantage, but it's only a little one."