Sydney Paralympics open with gala ceremony

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Sport now, of course, and no sooner had they doused the Olympic flame at the Australia Stadium in Sydney than they've gone and lit another one. This time, it was the World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability, the Australian Louise Sauvage, who lit the flame at Wednesday's spectacular opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

The Sydney Paralympics are the biggest in the history of the Games, and naturally the Czech Republic are there as well. Just before she headed off Down Under, I spoke to the Secretary of the Czech Paralympic team, Radka Kucirkova: The opening ceremony featured a performance by the Aussie pop goddess, Kylie Minogue, as well as a pre-recorded address from the Cambridge mathematics professor Stephen Hawking, himself physically disabled. Hawking spoke of the "fire in our hearts and our minds and our spirits," a sentiment fully endorsed by Kucirkova: Moving on to football, and it was a sorry night on Tuesday for Sparta Prague. They crashed to a 2-1 defeat at the Ukranian team Shaktar Donetsk and now seem almost certain to be eliminated from the Champions League in the First Round group stage. The winner came three minutes from time, after Zdenek Gregera received his marching orders for handling the ball in the box. Zubov converted successfully from the resulting penalty.

Sparta had taken the lead in the 16th minute when Jiri Jarosik poked home from a corner. Although Postulka saved a Shaktar penalty two minutes later, the Lithuanian international Dainius Gleveskas headed the home team level on 35 minutes.

The result means that Sparta now lie four points behind second-placed Lazio with only two matches to play.