16 May 2019, 17:30 PM

STA, 16 May 2019 - Maribor have secured their 15th national football championship three rounds before the end of the season with a 3:1 win in Celje on Wednesday.

After blowing the chance of locking up the title last Saturday at home against the rivals Olimpija Ljubljana, Maribor were far more determined last evening in Celje.

The seventh national championship title for the club from Slovenia's second city in the last nine seasons was secured in the last ten minutes with goals by Jan Mlakar and Dino Hotić.

The win was coupled with Olimpija, the defending champions, losing at home to Domžale to fall eleven points behind Maribor three rounds to go.

Olimpija has been the fiercest rival to Maribor this season, but too much turmoil within the club has not allowed the rivalry to be close although Olimpija has maintained its second place in the rankings since the 8th round.

Maribor have meanwhile kept the first place in the standings since the second round, coming out of the gates in the first five matches by scoring as many as 19 goals.

The club has also remained at the top in terms of goals scored, while the defence headlined by goalie Kenan Pirić allowed a season-leading 29 goals so far, six goals fewer than the closest opponent in this department, Mura.

Maribor, the only Slovenian club to have played in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, have been dominant lately, with Olimpija being the only other title winner in the last nine years, in the 2015/16 and 2017/18 seasons.

Commenting on the feat, Maribor head coach Darko Milanič said the club had been very dominant this season, and praised the players as well as the fans for "their unbelievable support".

"We're working hard, we've deserved the championship, and I'm very proud of the team. I enjoy sitting on this bench, as many good things are happening," he added.

Sport director Zlatko Zahovič is happy that Maribor have managed to defeat the financially stronger Olimpija. "When the opponent functions only with money, it is hard to play against it."

Maribor will have the opportunity to win the double title as they play Olimpija in the national cup final at the end of the month.

16 May 2019, 09:30 AM

STA, 15 May 2019 - Slovenian cyclist Primož Roglič remains the race leader at the Giro d'Italia after stage five on Wednesday, retaining a 35-second overall lead on the Brit Simon Yates.

Roglič crossed the finish line in 61st place but in the time of the winner, the German Pascal Ackerman, who won a sprint finish in pouring rain to claim his second victory in this year's race.

The 29-year-old Slovenian has been in the lead since the first stage of the race and is the first rider in 16 years to have worn the pink jersey for the first five days.

While the riders braved 140 kilometres in freezing rain today, Thursday's sixth stage covers 238km from Cassino to San Giovanni Rotondo.

15 May 2019, 12:16 PM

STA, 15 May 2019 - The world body for sports cycling, UCI, has suspended Slovenian riders Kristijan Koren and Borut Božič after being notified of doping suspicions by Austrian authorities.

The Slovenian riders were suspended along with Italian Alessandro Petacchi and Croat Kristijan Đurasek. Koren, Božič and Petacchi allegedly violated anti-doping rules in 2012-13, and Đurasek in 2017.

"The procedure is being handled by the UCI, which has made the announcement, so we cannot comment on the case," said Jani Dvoršak, director of the Slovenian Anti-Doping Agency.

A member of Bahrain-Merida, Koren has been part of the team at the ongoing Giro d'Italia, while Božič is the club's sports director having retired as rider after last year's season.

The UCI took the step based on information received from the law enforcement authorities of Austria.

The body said it was in close contact with the sport and state authorities involved in the Aderlass investigation, in particular with the World Anti-Doping Agency and Austrian law enforcement.

The UCI and the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation would not make any further comment at this stage.

Operation Aderlass culminated during this year's Cross-Country Skiing World Championships in Seefeld, Austria, as the police busted a blood doping ring headed by a German doctor and his three aides.

The doctor is suspected of helping athletes achieve better results by means of blood transfusions or blood doping between 2011 and 2019. Twenty-one athletes have been detected as his alleged clients.

Bahrain-Merida confirmed the suspension of Koren and Božič, saying it had a "zero-tolerance doping policy" and "always carries out a thorough medical checks (including biological passport check) of any new signed rider."

The team pointed out that "both cases relate to the 2012 and/or 2013 season" when Koren rode for the Liquigas-Cannondale and Cannondale teams, while Božič rode for Astana.

This is a second doping case involving Slovenian riders this year after it transpired in January that Jani Brajkovič failed a doping test during the Tour of Croatia last year.

Brajkovič, who claimed unintended intake of a banned substance by means of a food supplement, was given a ten-month suspension by the UCI.

05 May 2019, 21:20 PM

This weekend saw another leg of the IFSC Climbing World Cup, with both bouldering and speed events in Wujiang, China. As usual, Janja Garnbret, who competes only in lead and bouldering, took the top spot on the podium, this time followed by Akiyo Noguchi and Ai Mori, both from Japan. Two other Slovenes also made it into the top 20, with Katija Kadić at 13th position, and Lučka Rakovec at 15th.

Turning to the men’s bouldering event, this was won by Austria’s Jakob Schubert, followed by Keita Dohi and Kokoro Fuji, both from Japan. Slovenia’s Jernej Kruder, usually much higher ranked, had to content himself with 16th place, with Gregor Veznok at 15th , while Anze Peharc was 20th.

05 May 2019, 21:01 PM

STA, 5 May 2019 - Slovenian cycling sensation Primož Roglič clinched his second consecutive title as the overall winner of the Tour de Romandie after winning Sunday's time trial in Geneva in his third stage win of the week.

With three stage wins, one second and one third stage spots, the 29-year-old member of the Jumbo-Visma team also won the green jersey in the points classification.

Overall, he finished the race 49 seconds ahead of Portuguese rider Rui Costa, and 1:12 minutes ahead of last year's Tour de France winner, Geraint Thomas of Wales.

This is the fifth overall UCI World Tour race victory for Roglič after he took the titles of the tours of the Basque Country and Romandy last year, and won the premiere UAE Tour and the Tirreno-Adriatico race earlier this year.

He has also won two Tour of Slovenia titles (2015 and 2018), the 2017 race of Algarve and the 2015 Tour of Azerbaijan. He finished fourth overall in the 2018 Tour de France.

He is one of the favourites to win the Giro d'Italia, starting with a time trial in Bologna on Saturday.

"I'm ready for the Giro now. I'm happy with how the whole week evolved. I'm always glad to come back here," Roglič commented. "I've had a fine day, a fine victory. The team and I did everything right."

04 May 2019, 20:35 PM

STA, 4 May 2019 - Slovenian racing cyclist Primož Roglič won the fourth stage of the 2019 Tour de Romandie on Saturday, consolidating his lead in the overall rankings.

The 29-year-old, who currently rides for the Jumbo-Visma team, clinched his second stage win of the week, taking a step closer toward winning his second consecutive title at the Switzerland tour and his third race of the 2019 UCI World Tour.

The Slovenian cyclist crossed the finish line ahead of Portuguese Rui Costa and Welsh Geraint Thomas after conquering 107 kilometres.

The key mountain stage of the race was reduced by 70km due to poor weather conditions, but it still posed quite a challenge mostly because of its 10km summit finish.

Roglič now has a 12-second lead before tomorrow's final stage of the race.

29 Apr 2019, 11:50 AM

STA, 28 April 2019 - World champion Loic Bruni from France won Sunday's World Cup mountain biking downhill on Slovenia's Pohorje, which hosted the event after a nine-year break. The women's race was won by Britain's Tahnee Seagrave.

Bruni outperformed Britain's Danny Hart by 0.404 seconds, while Australia's Troy Brosnan finished third.

Slovenia's Jure Žabjek, the best male competitor last season, finished 20th.

He is nevertheless happy with the result, making a comeback after injuries cost him almost all of last season.

"I believe I can climb higher," Žabjek, a member of the Slovenian-Canadian Unior/Devinci Factory Racing team, said after the race.

The women's race was won by Seagrave, with Slovenia's Monika Hrastnik, last year's European champion, finishing fifth.

The World Cup event on Pohorje used to be one of the most popular races of the season. The first race was held 20 years.

The organisers said this was Maribor's largest sporting event in recent years.

The Red Bull Media House estimated around 60 million spectators from around the world would tune in live.

You can see the course below, and if you'd like to mountain bike in Pohorje then check out the Bike Park site here

28 Apr 2019, 17:18 PM

Another bouldering competition and another first place finish for Janja Garnbret, as the young Slovene took gold for the third time in the third event of the season in Chongqing, China. She was joined on the podium by Akiyo Noguchi (Japan) in second place, and Austria’s Jessica Pilz. Katija Kadić was the other Slovenian in the top 10, finishing sixth.

Turning to the men’s bouldering, this was won by Manuel Cornu (France), followed by Japan’s Tomoa Narasaki, with Slovenia’s Anže Peharc in third, while Gregor Vezonik was eighth.

The results means that Slovenia remains at the top of the team rankings for bouldering, ahead of Japan and France, while the women’s event is led by Janja Garnbret. With regard to the men’s overall rankings, the Czech Adam Ondra is in the lead, followed by Slovenia’s Jernej Kruder.

23 Apr 2019, 07:38 AM

STA, 22 April 2019 - Pia Babnik, a 15-year-old Slovenian golf player, has won a major tournament in Scotland as she affirmed her status as one of the best up-and-coming female players in Europe.

Babnik took home the Helen Holm Scottish Women's Open Championship over the weekend with a seven-shot win over France's Charlotte Bunel.

Ranked 37th in the global standings of amateur golfers, Babnik led the field from day one with an opening round of 66 at the Royal Troon golf course.

In the end, she had a seven-shot margin over France's Charlotte Bunel and a record 15-under aggregate.

BBC reported that the teenager is now targeting a return to Scotland for September's Junior Solheim Cup, the youth version of the team event pitting Europe against the US.

"For me, it would be a very special day to be part of the European team," Babnik told the BBC.

The Courier, a UK news portal, said the spectators may have been "early witnesses to a new phenomenon in golf".

All our stories on golf are here

18 Apr 2019, 11:45 AM

STA, 17 April 2019 - Slovenia's best goalkeeper and national team mainstay Jan Oblak has agreed on a contract extension with his Atletico Madrid until 2023, the Spanish powerhouse announced on Wednesday. The extension makes him one of the highest paid goalkeepers in the world.

The four-year extension puts an end to lengthy negotiations between the Slovenian and the club for which he has played since July 2014.

The 26-year-old from Škofja Loka is to receive around 10 million euro a year under the new contract, which makes him one of the highest paid goalkeepers in the world.

According to Transfermarkt, Oblak is the most valuable goalkeeper in the world, with an estimated market value of 80 million euro.

The new contract for Oblak, who has played 203 games for Atletico Madrid and managed to keep his net intact for a whopping 115 games, is expected to put his buyout value at 120 million euor.

His goalkeeping statistics brought him the latest three annual titles of the best goalkeeper in the Spanish premier division.

"I'm very happy to extend my cooperation with Atletico, that I'm here. I will continue to defend the club's colours as best as I can and I will continue to play hard," he told the club's website.

With the Madrid club, Oblak won the Spanish Super Cup (2014), the UEFA Europa League (2018) and the UEFA Super Cup (2018).

He also made it to the best team of the UEFA Champions League in the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons, and was also declared the Slovenian football player of the year in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Oblak, who has 20 caps for the national team, has recently announced his return to the team after an absence of more than a year.

16 Apr 2019, 10:08 AM

STA, 15 April 2019 - The Slovenian Basketball Association's (KZS) bid for Slovenia to host one of the preliminary groups of the EuroBasket 2021 has been endorsed by the government.

Hosting one of the preliminary groups would cost 4.5 million euro, of which 1.8 million euro in a fee and another 700,000 euro in other fixed costs.

Slovenia would have to pay the fee and the other fixed costs of 2.5 million euro to FIBA Europe in advance. Today's green light means the money will come from the government.

"We asked the state for a donation or a kind of a loan since the Basketball Association could not afford to pay the 2.5 million to FIBA Europe in advance, this is practically its entire annual budget," explained KZS president Matej Erjavec.

But judging by the EuroBasket 2013, which was held in Slovenia, the investment pays off at the end of the competition through ticket sales and sponsors, he added.

The funds will be allocated to the KZS as part of the 2021 annual sport plan on the basis of the rules governing co-funding sport events at national level.

Apart from Slovenia, also vying for the tournament are the Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary and Italy.

Erjavec has recently said that seven bids arrived at FIBA Europe, among them only one for the final part of the tournament, which means Slovenia has a 50% chance to win one of the preliminary groups.

He has also explained there were two reasons why the KZS would like to host one of the EuroBasket 2021 groups.

As a host, Slovenia would qualify for the championships directly, without having to play in qualifications. This means the relatively young national team would have a chance to mature in the coming two years without being under pressure to deliver results.

The other reason is a wish to have NBA star Luka Dončić play in front of a home crowd. "We're aware that NBA players could not take part in the qualifications as they were designed for the world championships," said Erjavec.

If it is selected one of the hosts, Slovenia will organise such a prominent basketball event for the second time - after hosting the entire tournament in 2013.

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