August 26, 2003 - The 2003 World League Best Spiker Martin Lebl could be ruled out of the Czech Republic's European Championship campaign due to a health scare.
The 201cm, 23-year-old middle blocker picked up a viral infection (problems with breathing) on his holidays in Egypt and spent a lengthy time in hospital to recover. Still under going medical treatment for the problem, Lebl will be expected immediately by coach de Giorgio at his club Perugia (A UNO) in Italy.
Lebl's loss will be a big blow for the Czech team, which plays Germany in the European Championship preliminary round in Karlsruhe on September 6, who also has their 206cm second middle blocker, Michal Rak also in doubt after recent injury trouble at the preparation tournament in the Czech town of Jablonec, last week.
A full strength Czech Republic side would expect to do well at the European Championship having finished fourth at the 2003 World League before recording a third place finish behind Russia and Serbia & Montenegro and ahead of France in a four-nation friendly tournament in Jablonec.
Georg Wiebel, the German national player who recently played for Noliko Maaseik together with Lebl, said: "Martin is an outstanding player, he cannot be replaced very easily."