STA, 31 August 2022 - The European Basketball Championship is starting this week after a five-year break, with the Slovenian team defending the European title from Istanbul. A total of 24 teams will compete in Milan, Prague, Tbilisi and Cologne to make it to the finals that will be played in Berlin on 18 September.
Goran Dragić, Luka Dončić and the rest of the team made history five years ago by winning the title of European champions and because of the Covid-19 epidemic held the title longer than any team.
The 41st EuroBasket was to be held in 2021, but was delayed for a year because of the postponement of the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Slovenia, playing in Cologne and Berlin, is the top contender for gold. A survey conducted by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) among journalists gives the Slovenian team a 30% chance of winning the title again and an almost 75% chance of winning a medal.
Dončić is considered the most likely most valuable player of the championship (42% chance) and the top shooter (almost 61%).
At the last EuroBasket, Goran Dragić was the most valuable player, while Dončić was among the five top players of the championship.
Slovenia will defend the title with pretty much the same players. Guided by head coach Aleksander Sekulić, the team will comprise eight players who played in Istanbul in 2017 under Igor Kokoškov's watch.
Znana dvanajsterica #mojtim za #EuroBasket ????— Košarkarska zveza SIovenije (@kzs_si) August 29, 2022
Več: https://t.co/7E1r7R6pXu#mojtim bo v Köln prispel v ponedeljkovih popoldanskih urah. Na prizorišču skupinskega dela EuroBasketa bo prvi trening opravil v torek.@TelemachSi #generalnisponzor@SloveniaInfo #ifeelsLOVEnia pic.twitter.com/yaE5xerN8c
Mike Tobey will replace Anthony Randolph, Saša Zagorac and Gašper Vidmar meanwhile ended their careers, while Matic Rebec did not make the cut. New to the team are Žiga Samar, Luka Rupnik and Zoran Dragić.
The reigning European champions are entering the EuroBasket after a crushing defeat against Germany in the second round of the second part of World Cup qualifiers this Sunday, which ended their winning strike of nine victories this summer.
At the end of June and start of July, they beat Croatia and Sweden in the qualifiers and then won all six friendly matches, including against Turkey in Istanbul, Serbia in Ljubljana, and Croatia in Celje. They also crushed Estonia in the second part of the qualifiers.
At EuroBasket, Slovenia will face some of the toughest opponents, being placed in the group B, commonly referred to as the Group of Death.
Slovenia's opening match will be against Lithuania on 1 September and after a one-day break matches with Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina will follow on 6 and 7 September. After that, the team will face Germany and France.
In the first phase of elimination, group B teams will play against group A, which consists of Montenegro, Georgia, Spain, Bulgaria, Belgium and Turkey. In the quarter finals, the best teams from group B will take on those from groups C and D.
NBA players Dončić, Dragić, and Vlatko Čančar will be the stars of this EuroBasket, which will feature as many as 35 NBA players altogether.
Fans are ready for the spectacle and about 1,500 Slovenians plan to come to the Lanxess Arena in Cologne on Thursday and even more are expected in Berlin.
The first four buses of Slovenian fans will head for northern German on Saturday, 3 September, and a day later another group will arrive by plane.
On 9 September, the documentary 2017 about the historic success of the Slovenian basketball team at the 2017 EuroBasket will be screened at the UCI Luxe cinema in Berlin. The feature-length film was directed by award-winning director, writer and basketball fan Goran Vojnović.
It highlights all stages leading to the success, including the training camp of the rejuvenated national team, its first victories, a successful start to the EuroBasket campaign and the incredible wins over Latvia and Spain as well as the epic final with Serbia. It rounds off with the euphoria that captured the nation.
In Cologne, Slovenian fans will gather and socialise at the Papa Joe's Biersalon pub in the city centre.
STA, 31 August 2022 - Slovenia secured a spot in the round of sixteen at the World Volleyball Championship in Ljubljana, after a smooth victory against Germany in a packed Stožice Arena last night.
Playing in front of a crowd of 11,100 people, Slovenia won 3:0 to finish second in the group behind France.
Only one winning set would be enough for Slovenia to advance among the 16 best teams, but the home team played too well to let the rivals win a single set.
"We've shown a very high level of playing from the start to finish. We didn't let the Germans breathe, I think fans saw that, which is why we were rewarded with amazing encouragement, which helped us. I hope this continues," said Slovenian player Tonček Štern.
The next rival for the Slovenian team is now known yet, but the game will be played on Saturday, 3 September.
STA, 29 August 2022 - Slovenia recorded the first loss at the World Volleyball Championship in Ljubljana, having to concede to Olympic champions France in a close game on Sunday night.
The home team had the chance to win. They were ahead 2:1 and led 20:17 in the fourth set but failed to convert three match balls.
"This was a very difficult game... But in the end we have to be satisfied, even if we lost," said Slovenian player Alen Pajenk.
They will play the next game against Germany on Tuesday, in what may be the final chance to advance to the round of 16.
France currently lead the group with six points. Slovenia have four points and Germany, which defeated Cameroon yesterday, three.
STA, 28 August 2022 - The success of Slovenian canoeists was complete on Sunday, as Eva Terčelj and Ajda Novak won the second and third places in women's extreme slalom, a new Olympic discipline, at the Canoe Slalom World Cup in Pau, France. Jessica Fox from Australia, the reigning world champion of the discipline, won the race.
This is the first time that two Slovenian women competitors were on the podium. In a nail-biting finale, Terčelj crossed the finish line as second and Novak as third.
Slovenian canoeists Luka Božič and Benjamin Savšek bagged the second and third places in a white water slalom even in Pau earlier today.
The last white water slalom World Cup event of the season will be held next weekend in Seu d'Urgell.
STA, 24 August 2022 - Slovenia and Poland will co-host the Volleyball Men's World Championship, which will start on Friday and run until 11 September in what will be the second appearance for Slovenia on the world stage. Slovenia hope for a good result after finishing 10th in the Nations League and replacing the head coach right ahead of the tournament.
The championship was originally planned to be held in Russia, but due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the country was stripped of organisation rights with a decision of the International Volleyball Federation on 1 March.
It was decided on 15 April that three towns in Slovenia and Poland will host a total of 52 matches as part of the championship - the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana and Poland's Katowice and Gliwice.
Katowice will host the preliminary stage groups (A and C) in Spodek Arena with more than 11,000 seats, as well as the final four stage on 10 and 11 September.
The central arena in Gliwice (13,752 seats) will host four matches of the round of 16 and two quarter-finals matches, and Stožice Arena in Ljubljana (12,000 seats) will also host the same number of elimination matches.
In addition, Ljubljana will also host four preliminary stage groups (B, D, E and F), which means that the Slovenian capital will host 30 out of the 52 matches of the 20th world championship in volleyball for men.
It will be the second appearance for Slovenia at the world stage after the 2018 world championship in Italy and Bulgaria, when Slovenia finished 12th, while the co-hosts Poland will defend their world title from four years ago.
This year's world championship will be played in a new, simpler format, with the top two teams from the six groups and the top four of the third placed teams qualifying for the elimination round of 16.
Slovenia, who recently hired new head coach, Romanian Gheorghe Cretu, will play in Group D with Cameroon, France and Germany. They open their campaign against Cameroon on Friday, followed by France (28 August) and Germany (30 August).
After winning silvers at the European championships in 2019 and 2021, Slovenia have not had many successes recently and the new head coach will hopefully reverse the trend after the national team finished 10th in the Nations League.
Cretu, who surprisingly replaced Australia's Mark Lebedew three weeks ahead of the tournament, has said that Slovenia have enough weapons to reverse the trend and has expressed the ambition to take the team to the world championship title.
"You start every competition with a certain dream. Everyone ... dreams of the ultimate goal. This is motivation that may seem strange at first, but you have to believe all the time," he said as he held his first practice with the team on 9 August.
Cretu noted that the team had to work on reducing errors and not giving up any easy points to the opponents. "Everybody knows how well Slovenians serve. Of course, we have to show some new things as well, which I'm not going to reveal now," he added.
STA, 23 August 2022 - Slovenian cycling star Primož Roglič has taken the lead in La Vuelta after winning the 152-kilometre stage four on Tuesday on the last climb.
Having led the peloton in the last twenty kilometres, the Jumbo Visma rider secured the win with a dash up the Laguardia that left his closest competitors in the dust.
The 32-year-old also won the earlier climb up the Puerto de Herrero to win a three-second bonus.
Roglič now has a 13-second lead on the American Sepp Kuss in the overall rankings, with the Brit Ethan Hayter in third 26 seconds adrift.
STA, 22 August 2022 - The Seascape 18 Open European Championship starts in the seaside resort of Portorož on Monday, featuring 28 sailing boats from six countries. A total of 15 Slovenian crews will take part, including some favourites, the organisers said.
The Seascape 18 class originated in Slovenia as the brand was developed more than ten years ago by two Slovenian ocean sailors - Andraž Mihelin and Kristian Hajnšek.
Seascape 18 is the most popular of the four models of Seascape sailing boats and is one of the fastest developing European sailing classes, the organisers said in a press release.
Portorož will host this class under the European Championship for the third time this year. The event is organised by the local Sailing Club Pirat in cooperation with Yachting Club Portorož and with the support of Marina Portorož that will accommodate the fleet of participating boats.
"We're delighted that the Seascape Class Association has once again entrusted the organisation to Portorož. Our experienced team will definitely deliver a high-standard championship. Seascape 18 is indeed a more recreational class, but such championships feature excellent sailors who, in addition to sailing, want to enjoy socialising and get to know the destination," said Mitja Margon, the former winner of the event and current head of Pirat.
STA, 18 August 2022 - The Slovenian men's basketball team scored another win as it gears up for the EuroBasket, defeating Serbia 97:92 in an overtime thriller in Ljubljana on Wednesday evening that saw Slovenia's Luka Dončić outplay the fellow NBA superstar Nikola Jokić.
The spectacle in the packed Stožice Arena, which was attended by many celebrities, including tennis legend Novak Đoković and UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin, was the fifth win for Slovenia in as many warm-up matches ahead of the European championship.
Some 12,000 spectators in the sold-out Stožice Arena saw the Slovenian NBA superstar Dončić score 34 points to secure the home team the win and outscore the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Jokić, who scored 26 points and pulled down 12 rebounds.
The repeat of the 2017 EuroBasket finals in Istanbul, which was won by Slovenia, was a tight match, with no team having a lead of more than five points at any moment, so no one was surprised that an overtime was needed to determine the winner.
It was Slovenia's Vlatko Čančar, Jokić's team mate from the Denver Nuggets, who scored a decisive three-pointer in the extra session, followed by the game-clinching free throws by Edo Murić and Klemen Prepelič.
Veteran Goran Gragić, who recently signed for the Chicago Bulls, played only some five minutes, as head coach Aleksander Sekulić decided to rest him and spare him from a possible injury so that he could be fully prepared for the EuroBasket in September.
"We earned this win with a great deal of aggressiveness, sacrifice and above all with collective game," Sekulić told reporters after the match.
Murić added that "it was apparent that neither team was in the top shape, but we are happy to win another tough and competitive match. A lot of work is ahead of us, we must raise the pace and improve our defensive effort."
After another friendly match with Croatia in Celje on Saturday, Slovenia will play two qualifying matches for the 2023 World Cup next week - against Estonia in Celje and against Germany in Munich, before travelling to Cologne for the EuroBasket.
STA, 14 August 2022 - Janja Garnbret triumphed in the women's bouldering competition on Sunday to win her second title at European Championships in sport climbing in Munich after taking the title in lead on Saturday.
Considering her performance this far, the 23-year-old Slovenian Olympic and world champion is well set to win her third gold in Munich with the Olympic combined discipline due here on Wednesday. She already won the European title in the discipline in 2017.
Despite injuring her right-hand index finger in the lead final, Garnbret made an excellent showing in the boulder semis-finals and finals, dominating the event throughout.
In the semis she was the only one to solve all four boulder challenges and the only to finish the route on the second boulder.
In the finals she failed to solve the first challenge, reaching the second zone to place third after the first bolder. However, she reached the top of the next two boulders on first attempts to take the lead and it was clear the title was hears even before she attempted the fourth bolder, which like ker rivals she failed to tackle.
"The final didn't go according to my plans. It started pretty bad with the first boulder, which I failed to solve. I didn't know how many did, I thought everyone did except for me," Garnbret commented for RTV Slovenija.
However, she stayed positive: "I enjoyed myself, didn't panic in the least. I have quite some competition experience and I know anything can happen in the end.
"I did great on the next two boulders, reached the top on first attempt. The last boulder was rather difficult, I know I could have climbed it but it wasn't until the last ten seconds that I figured out the right sequence. Still, I'm super happy," said Garnbret.
Home favourite Hannah Meul won silver and French Oriane Bertone won bronze.
STA, 14 August 2022 - Slovenian racer Tim Gajser has secured his fourth Motocross World Championship title in the elite MXGP class, having built an unassailable lead at the event in Finland's Hyvinkää on Sunday with two more races to go to the end of the season.
Gajser placed sixth today to score 29 points for 674 points in the overall ranking, 104 points ahead of his closest rival, Jeremy Seewer of Switzerland, who finished second today. Even if Seewer won both the remaining races he could not clinch 100 more points.
It is the fourth title for the 25-year-old Slovenian in the MXGP class after he already won championships in 2016, 2019 and 2020 and his fifth career title including the 2015 title of the world champion in the weaker MX2 class.
"Amazing, even winning one title is an exceptional achievement, I'm at fifth now," Gajser was proud of his feat.
He admitted that he was a bit nervous today, thanking everyone who stood by his side, his Honda team, his girlfriend, his friends and everyone cheering for him at home.
Andrej Brglez, the head of AMZS, the Slovenian automobile and motorcycle association, congratulated Gajser as one of the world's best motocross riders of all times and Slovenia's best athletes. With young people having such an idol Breznik is not concerned about the future of motocross racing in Slovenia.
Today's race was won by Glenn Coldenhoff of the Netherlands ahead of Seewer in second and Maxime Renaux of France in third.
STA, 24 July 2022 - Slovenia's cycling star Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) has failed to defend his 2021 Tour de France title as he finished second in the 2022 edition of the most prestigious Grand Tour on Sunday. He bagged the white jersey as the best young rider for the third time in a row though. The title went to Denmark's Jonas Vingegaard (Team Jumbo-Visma).
The outcome of the 109th Tour de France was clear even before today's final stage that wrapped up, as tradition dictates, in Paris.
After two years of Pogačar's reign Vingegaard has taken over now. The Dane stripped Pogačar of the yellow jersey of the overall leader on the mountain stage eleven and then managed to hold onto it until the very end of the race.
The gap between Pogačar and Vingegaard was two minutes and 43 seconds in the end after the riders arrived in Paris to finish the 116km final stage, where the Slovenian placed 20th.
The British rider Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) was in third place overall, clocking in four minutes and 39 seconds after Pogačar.
In addition to the overall win, Team Jumbo-Visma also took the green jersey of the best sprinter, which was secured by Belgium's Wout van Aert, and the polka dot jersey or the King of the Mountains jersey, which was clinched by Vingegaard.
Team-wise, Ineos Grenadiers was the best at the 2022 Tour de France.
Pogačar won three stages this year, same as during the two previous Tour de France races, including stage 17, one of the hardest, but the 23-year-old could not make up the gap between him and Vingegaard. The 25-year-old dominated stages 11 and 18 in particular.
The Slovenian intends to take this as a lesson for future races and has vowed to return stronger at next year's Tour de France. The defeat has motivated him even more and made him even "hungrier" to win, he said at a press conference on Saturday evening after the time trial, the penultimate stage, which he finished in third place.
He said it had been a mistake he responded to every attack during stage 11, noting he paid a high price for this. He also pointed out his team was Covid-depleted and said he was looking forward to new challenges.
Three other Slovenians finished the Tour today - Jan Tratnik (Team Bahrain Victorious) in 72nd place, Matej Mohorič (Team Bahrain Victorious) in 86th place and Luka Mezgec (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) in 101st place, whereas another cycling star, Primož Roglič (Team Jumbo-Visma), dropped out of the race before stage 15 due to injuries.