Sport

25 Nov 2018, 17:04 PM

Ruka, Finland, played host to the world’s best ski jumpers over the weekend, although without a still recovering Peter Prevc. His brother Domen was abl to compete, and managed the best Slovene result, 4th, with a jump of 136.5 m and 134.7 points. The event was won by Japan’s Ryoyu Kobayashi (14.0 m, 148,4 points), followed by Andreas Wellinger (Germany, 136 m, 139.4 points) and Kamil Stoch (Poland, 136.5 m, 139.3 points).

The next Slovene on this list was Timi Zajc, the 18-year old for whom great things are expected in the future. In Finland he finished just outside the top 10, in 11th place, with a jump of 130.0 m (124.8 points). Mogel Zak was 20th, with a jump of 124.0 m (115.1 points).

23 Nov 2018, 19:26 PM

STA, 23 November 2018- Ice hockey immediately springs to mind in Slovenia at the mention of Jesenice, an old steel town in the north-west of the country. The Jesenice hockey club, which dominated the sport in Yugoslavia and Slovenia for decades, is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year.

The small industrial town, which one passes on the A2 motorway north of Bled, became synonymous with ice hockey between 1957 and 1971 when HK Acroni Jesenice won 15 consecutive Yugoslav champion titles.

While engaged in a constant rivalry with the Ljubljana hockey club, Jesenice's total number of titles in the former common country reached 23. The club went on to win nine more championship titles in independent Slovenia, including in the first three seasons in 1991-1993.

The club, known for mostly developing and using local players, has played a crucial role in the impressively high level of the sport in Slovenia.

The national team reached the quarter-finals of the Olympic tournament in Sochi in 2014 and also qualified for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, despite Slovenia only having a handful of clubs and fewer than 200 registered players.

Bankruptcy, dissolution and new hope

However, having lost the Yugoslav markets and with the general decline of industrial production, the town of Jesenice has been struggling and unfortunately this has also been true in recent years for the ice hockey club.

It became the first Slovenian club to be invited to the Austrian Hockey League EBEL in 2006 and also managed to win the Slovenian league titles in 2008-2011, but the club went bankrupt and was dissolved in 2012.

While the hockey school was preserved, efforts have been under way to rebuild the club from scratch. An anniversary ceremony to be held at the end of the month in the town's museum complex Kolpern, located in the former premises of the now downsized steelworks, hopes to contribute.

"The steelworks were like a mother and were involved in all aspects of life here. With the downfall of Yugoslavia it became clear that this support was no longer possible," Miha Rebolj, a former player and one of the leading figures in efforts to salvage the club, reflected on Jesenice's history.

"Then there was also the curse of the EBEL league, which demanded substantial investments. The debts accumulated, the senior team was disbanded. But us veterans have managed to save Jesenice hockey, a new club has emerged that is now mounting all the challenges it encounters," he added.

17 Nov 2018, 14:05 PM

STA, 16 November 2018 - The Ski Jumping World Cup season will start this weekend in Poland's Wisla without Slovenia's best jumper Peter Prevc, who needs additional training following his recovery from two ankle surgeries. Timi Zajc, a 18-year-old talent who stood out during the summer, is now the main hope of the Slovenian team, which has a new headcoach.

Prevc, who dominated the 2016 World Cup like no other before him, went through a slump in the last two seasons, but was still Slovenia's best jumper last year in 15th place overall.

Ankle issues cost him the entire preparation period for the new season and Prevc was only able to make his first jumps at the end of October.

Asked when he expects to return to the circuit, Prevc, whose ankle is still not at 100 percent, explained "the predictions are changing fast currently".

"Somewhere between Kuusamo (24 November) and Engelberg (15 December)... The 4-Hill tournament (31 December) is what I consider may last train for the season. I think I should have enough jumps and confidence by then.

"But my goal is not 28th or 32nd place. When my jumps allow me to be among the top 15, I will return without reservations," the 26-year-old has told the STA.

Meanwhile, the team's modest results in the last season ended a seven-year period under headcoach Goran Janus, who led Slovenian jumpers to a spectacular 46 World Cup victories.

Janus has been succeeded by Gorazd Bertoncelj, who has made some changes in the preparation period, for instance letting as many as 17 jumpers compete during the summer cup.

The only one to stand out among the Slovenians was Zajc, who made his World Cup debut in the last season, when his top result was a 12th place.

The remaining jumpers to start the season in Wisla are veteran Jernej Damjan along with Anže Semenič, Anže Lanišek, Žak Mogel, Bor Pavlovčič and Tomaž Naglič.

Bertoncelj has been very open about his goals this season: "We want one jumper among the top 6 in the final overall rankings, another one among the top 15, while we also wish to have eight podium finishes during the season."

"Meanwhile, the biggest goal is a medal at the World Championship in Seefeld and of course a podium finish at the season final at home in Planica," he announced.

13 Nov 2018, 18:30 PM

STA, 13 November 2018 - Slovenia's Jan Oblak has been named the best goalkeeper in the Spanish premier football league La Liga in the 2017/2018 season, which is the third time in a row that the 25-year-old from Škofja Loka, who plays for Atletico Madrid, received the Zamora Trophy conferred by the Spanish daily sport newspaper Marca.

Oblak joined the Spanish side in the 2014/15 season, when he signed a six-year contract worth EUR 16m to become the fifth highest-paid goalkeeper in history, the highest-paid Slovenian football player ever and the highest-paid goalkeeper in La Liga.

He received his first Zamora Trophy, named after goalkeeper Ricardo Zamora, in the 2015/16 season, when he conceded only 18 goals in 38 matches, defending the title in the next season, when he received 21 goals in 29 matches.

In the past season in the Spanish first division, he played in 37 matches for Atletico Madrid to concede only 22 goals for a 0.59 ratio, which was far above the rest of the goalkeeper competition.

With his third title of the best goalkeeper in the Spanish first division, Oblak equalised with Zamora himself and five other goalkeeping legends. The Slovenian is now only behind Juan Acuna and Santiago Canizares (4) and Victor Valdes and Antoni Ramallets (5).

Only two other players received three trophies in a row, with Arconada winning the accolade between the 1979/80 and 1981/82 seasons and Valdes between the 2007/08 and the 2011/12 seasons.

12 Nov 2018, 10:06 AM

Along with ski jumping and climbing, judo is another of the individual sports that Slovenia does far better than many much bigger nations, a fact that seen over the weekend in Uzbekistan, at the Taskent Grand Prix. Here Slovenia managed to achieve 8th place in the overall rankings, with Adrian Gomboc winning gold in the men’s -66 kg division, while Kaja Kajzer picked up the bronze in the women’s -57 kg, as did Leski Andreja in the women’s -63 kg

Kosovo had the best performance among the nations fielding atheletes, winning three golds and one silver in the women’s events, with the full results available at the International Judo Federation’s website.

09 Nov 2018, 11:50 AM

STA, 8 November 2018 - Interim head coach of the national football team, Igor Benedejčič, presented on Thursday the roster for the last two matches in the UEFA Nations League, against Norway on 16 November and Bulgaria on 19 November. The roster does not feature star midfielder Kevin Kampl, who has announced his retirement from the national team.

Presenting the roster at a press conference in Brdo pri Kranju, Benedejčič said that Kampl had informed the Slovenian Football Association about his decision last week.

The 28-year old, who plays for Germany's Leipzig, debuted for the national team in 2012, scoring two goals in 28 matches for Slovenia. His last match for the national team was on 6 September, when Slovenia lost at home to Bulgaria.

"I regret that he has made such a decision. He is an excellent player, which he has been proving for years in the club," Benedejčič said, expressing hope that Kampl would change his mind and help the team turn the things around.

This is not the only problem for the new coach, as the team will also be without veterans Bojan Jokić (injury) and Josip Iličić (yellow cards).

Slovenia are at the bottom of Group 3 of League C of the UEFA Nations League with one point and are in serious danger of being relegated to League D. Slovenia are facing the opponents who are at the top of the group with nine points each.

"We are aware of the position we are in. We are facing two tough matches, with both opponents fighting for the first place. It is up to us to give our best and try to stay in the group," said the coach.

* Slovenia's roster for the matches against Norway and Bulgaria:

- goalkeepers: Vid Belec (Sampdoria), Aljaž Ivačič (Olimpija), Matic Kotnik (Panionios);

- defenders: Jure Balkovec (Hellas Verona), Miha Blažič (Ferencvaros), Bojan Jokić (Ufa), Luka Krajnc (Frosinone), Miha Mevlja (Zenit), Nemanja Mitrović (Jagiellonia), Nejc Skubic (Konyaspor), Petar Stojanović (Dinamo Zagreb), Aljaž Struna (Palermo);

- midfielders: Jaka Bijol (CSKA Moscow), Domen Črnigoj (Lugano), Amir Dervišević (Maribor), Josip Iličić (Atalanta), Rene Krhin (Nantes), Rudi Požeg Vancaš (Celje), Rajko Rotman (Kayserispor), Leo Štulac (Parma), Benjamin Verbič (Dynamo Kyiv), Miha Zajc (Empoli);

- forwards: Robert Berić (St. Etienne), Roman Bezjak (Jagiellonia), Andraž Šporar (Slovan Bratislava), Luka Zahović (Maribor).

29 Oct 2018, 15:24 PM

Slovenia’s Domen Škofic took first place on the podium in Xiamen, China, over the weekend, getting gold in the men’s lead event, with Italy’s Stefano Ghisolfi in second and South Korea’s Hyunbin Min in third. 

28 Oct 2018, 15:14 PM

Sisay Lemma Kasaye, from Ethiopia, won the 23rd Ljubljana Marathon and set a track record of 2:04:58, knocking 3 minutes 21 seconds off the previous fastest time, 2:08:19, achieved three years ago. The current world record for men is 2:01:39, as set by Eliud Kipchoge (Kenya) earlier this year in Berlin. 

24 Oct 2018, 17:00 PM

STA, 24 October 2018 - More than 26,650 runners have signed up for the 23rd Ljubljana Marathon to be held in the capital this weekend. The organisers are hoping for records in both women's and men's competitions. They are also hoping to win the top road race label by the Association of International Marathons and Distance Races (AIMS). 

22 Oct 2018, 12:50 PM

STA, 21 October 2018 - Slovenia's teen climbing sensation, Janja Garnbret, has secured the overall Climbing World Cup victory in the women's lead discipline for the third consecutive time. 

17 Oct 2018, 18:30 PM

The 2018 ITTF Para World Championships started today in Laško-Celje. The four-day competition will see athletes competing for 21 different singles titles. 

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