STA, 25 January 2020 - The Slovenian men's handball team finished fourth at the European Championship after losing to Norway 20:28 in the third-place match in Stockholm on Saturday, in what is the second-best result for Slovenia ever at such tournaments.
Slovenia did not manage to bounce back from yesterday's semi-final match against Spain (32:34), while the Norwegians celebrated after a painful loss to Croatia in the last seconds of the other semi-final.
It was a sloppy and slow affair in the first half, with Norway making a run by the 20th minute to secure a four-goal lead, and never looked back thereafter. They did not let Slovenia to come close, also with help from some stellar goalkeeping.
Slovenian head coach Ljubomir Vranješ, who took over the team only a month ago, said that the player had done a tremendous job at the tournament but "it is not enough", adding that the whole tournament had been difficult.
Captain Vid Kavtičnik, who did not play in the match due to injury, said that "of course we are sad, but still, the fourth place is amazing," noting that the team did not have much time to prepare for the tournament.
Borut Mačkovšek said that the team would continue to work hard, and Jure Dolenec said that "we should be proud of what we have done at this major competition," adding that Slovenia had been in a very bad place only six months ago.
The fourth place is actually the second-best results for Slovenia at the European championships, coming after the national won silver medal at home in 2004.
While Slovenia have failed to win a medal, they have secured a berth in an Olympic qualifying tournament hosted by Berlin, Germany between 17 and 19 April.
At the tournament Slovenia will play against Germany, Sweden and an African national team, with the top two teams making it to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
As for the qualifications, Vranješ said that the team would be prepared tactically by March and then a training camp would be scheduled.
STA, 24 January 2020 - The Slovenian men's handball team lost to Spain 32:34 in the semi-finals of the European Championship in Stockholm on Friday, and will play Norway in the third-place match tomorrow.
The reigning European champions Spain were too much for Slovenia who were looking to make it to what would be their second European champions finals ever, taking advantage of many fast-breaks to build a 20:15 lead in the half-time.
The five-goal lead proved to be too much to recover from for Slovenia, who nevertheless fought to the final whistle and were only one goal behind in the last minute.
After what was the third loss for Slovenia in the four semi-finals at major competitions so far, Slovenia's Jure Dolenec said the team played a very bad defence in the first half and that he was "honestly really disappointed."
Slovenian head coach Ljubomir Vranješ said that the Spaniards were much better in the first half as his players had made very bad mistakes on defence, but what was important that they had fought until the last minute.
"They did not give up at all, but they fought the entire time, and this is good," he said, admitting that it would be hard to motivate players and find energy for the third-place match.
Slovenia will try to bounce back from the loss on Saturday as they try to win the bronze medal against Norway, who lost to Croatia 28:29 in a double overtime thriller in the other semi-final earlier today.
Slovenia already played Norway in the last match of the second round of the ongoing European championship on Wednesday, losing 30:33.
STA, 24 January 2020 - The second day of the Biathlon World Cup meet in Slovenia's Pokljuka on Friday saw Denise Herrmann of Germany win the women's 15km individual event, ahead of Hanna Oeberg of Sweden and France's Anais Bescond.
Herrmann was perfect in the shooting, while Oeberg missed one target to finish 59.2 seconds behind the winner. Bescond also hit all targets but was slower in the running part (+1:15.7).
The race featured two Slovenian athletes, with Lea Einfalt finishing 76th (+9:20.9) and Polona Klemenčič finishing 87th (+10:49.8).
The meet at the plateau within the Triglav National Park continues on Saturday with the single mixed relay and the 4x7.5km mixed relay.
The event will wrap up on Sunday with the men's 15km mass start and a women's 12.5km mass start competitions.
STA, 23 January 2020- The four-day Biathlon World Cup meet in Slovenia's Pokljuka started on Thursday with the men's 20km individual event, with Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway emerging as the winner, while Jakov Fak was the best Slovenian competitor in 12th place.
The Norwegian was perfect in shooting, finishing 11.4 seconds ahead of Martin Fourcade of France, who kept his overall lead in the World Cup. Third place went to another Frenchman, Fabien Claude (+25.6).
Slovenia's best biathlete Jakov Fak finished 2 minutes and 20.2 seconds behind the winner for the 12th place, as he missed one target in the process. The second best Slovenia was Rok Tršan (+4:26.1) in 31st place.
Boe, who was absent from the World Cup for four weeks after becoming a father, said he "started slower than usual today" and "spent some more time on the shooting range, but everything went well and I'm happy."
He added that Fourcade had rang up four wins in the meantime, which made it difficult for him to grab the overall win. "This is why the world championship is the primary goal."
Fak, who kept his 15th overall place in the World Cup, said that "missing the last shot was very painful" as he had some technical problems. "It will be hard to climb higher this season, and today I tried to make a better result, but I couldn't."
The races at the plateau within the Triglav National Park continue on Friday with the women's 15km individual event.
Saturday is reserved for the single mixed relay and the 4x7.5km mixed relay, with the meet wrapping up on Sunday with the men's 15km mass start and a women's 12.5km mass start competitions.
* Results of the men's 20km event and overall standings: 1 Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) 47:54.3 (0) 2 Martin Fourcade (FRA) + 11.4 (0) 3 Fabien Claude (FRA) 25.6 (0) 4 Phillip Nawrath (GER) 36.7 (0) 5 Johannes Dale (NOR) 1:02.4 (1) 6 Tarjei Boe (NOR) 1:26.4 (1) 7 Quentin Fillon Maillet (FRA) 1:28.5 (2) 8 Johannes Kühn (GER) 1:41.8 (1) 9 Vetle Sjaastad Christiansen (NOR) 1:56.1 (1) 10 Benedikt Doll (GER) 2:06.5 (2) ... 12 Jakov Fak (SLO) 2:20.2 (1) 31 Rok Tršan (SLO) 4:26.1 (1) 34 Klemen Bauer (SLO) 4:52.3 (3) 46 Miha Dovžan (SLO) 5:32.5 (5) - Overall World Cup standings (12 of 24 events): 1 Martin Fourcade (FRA) 561 pts 2 Quentin Fillon Maillet (FRA) 472 3 Simon Desthieux (FRA) 455 4 Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) 434 5 Tarjei Boe (NOR) 429 6 Alexander Loginov (RUS) 415 7 Emilien Jacquelin (FRA) 389 8 Johannes Dale (NOR) 362 9 Benedikt Doll (GER) 361 10 Erlend Bjoentegaard (NOR) 331
STA, 22 January 2020 - The Slovenian men's handball team made it among the top four teams at the European championships after finishing second in the main round Group II play in Sweden's Malmö. Slovenia will play reigning European champions Spain in the semi-finals on Friday.
It is only the second time in the nation's history the handball team made it to the medal round at European handball championships, following Slovenia's silver medal at home in 2004.
Slovenia entered the main round as an undefeated team in the preliminary group F in Gothenburg, racking up three consecutive wins against Poland, Sweden and Switzerland.
The Slovenians followed up the winning streak with a 30:27 victory over Iceland last Friday, and then suffered their first loss at the tournament on Sunday at the hands of Hungary (28:29).
On Tuesday, Slovenia defeated Portugal 29:24 to secure their first goal at the tournament - a berth in one of the three qualifying tournaments for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Today, Slovenia lost 30:33 to the still undefeated Norway, but had already made it to the semi-finals prior to the match as the main rival for the top two spots, Hungary, lost to Portugal 26:34 earlier today.
Slovenian head coach Ljubomir Vranješ told reporters that "it is a great day for us" and that "this is my best defeat ever", referring to Slovenia having already qualified for the semi-finals before the match.
He said that the tactics for Norway had not been used at all, as the players "put it in the pocket for later", adding that he was saving the energy of his players a little bit for Friday's encounter against Spain.
In the semi-finals, it will be important to be both physically and mentally ready, and "we are going there well prepared and fully focused," Vranješ concluded.
Regardless of the outcome of the medal round in Stockholm, Slovenia will play at one of the three Olympic qualifying tournaments, hosted by France, Germany and Norway between 17 and 19 April.
Only the winner of the ongoing European championships will get the direct ticket for Tokyo from Europe, in addition to the reigning world champions Denmark.
STA, 19 January 2020 - Slovenia's ski jumper Timi Zajc placed third in Sunday's World Cup event in Titisee-Neustadt, Germany, in what is his best result this winter season.
Pole Dawid Kubacki was victorious for the second straight day, scoring 283.3 points, 0.3 points ahead of Japanese Ryoyu Kobayashi, who came in third at the same venue yesterday. Zajc mustered 271.6 points.
Kubacki and Kobayashi were a class apart in the first series, securing an advantage of more than 10 points ahead of the rest, while the battle for the third spot was wide open.
Going into the finals, Slovenia had two contenders for the remaining slot on the podium, Domen Prevc, who placed 5th in the first series, and Timi Zajc in 7th.
Zajc jumped 134 metres to take the lead, while losing minimum wind compensation points. Domen Prevc was very late into his jump, making it only as far as 113 metres.
Zajc's is only the fourth podium finish for Slovenia this season, after Anže Lanišek placed second in Poland's Wisla and third in Ruka, Finland, and Peter Prevc finished second in Engelberg, Switzerland.
Zajc was Slovenia's best jumper last season, finishing 9th overall.
STA, 18 January 2020 - Grega Lačen, one of Slovenia's top mountain climbers, was killed after falling from a great height while descending one of the peaks in the Kamnik-Savinja Alps in northern Slovenia on Friday afternoon. The police have ruled out any foul play.
The 43-year-old died falling down a high-steep rock face near the Mlinar Saddle despite being well-equipped and familiar with the area. A local rescue team has already recovered the body.
Lačen was part of Slovenia's many successful climbing expeditions, reported the newspaper Večer. He summited numerous peaks, including Mount Everest, having skied down the world's highest mountain.
He also led an expedition to the Karakoram mountain range, which spans the borders of Pakistan, India, China, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.
In the wake of several tragic climbing accidents in January, the police have urged climbers to exercise extra caution, particularly when descending steep snow slopes.
STA, 18 January 2020 - The Italians dominated the men's World Cup parallel giant slalom in Slovenia's ski resort Rogla on Saturday, whereas the Czech Republic took the top place in the women's race.
Italy's Edwin Corrati beat his countryman Roland Fischnaller to defend last year's win in Rogla. Ester Ledecka of the Czech Republic won the women's race, beating Germany's Ramona Theresia Hofmeister.
Third places went to Russian snowboarders in both categories, Natalija Soboleva and Vic Wild.
Slovenian snowboarders left empty-handed, with Tim Mastnak the only one to have made it into the final rounds.
Mastnak, who placed eighth in the qualifying stage, was beaten by Poland's Oskar Kwiatkowski in the round of 16.
Slovenia's best women's snowboarder was Gloria Kotnik, who ranked 31st in the qualifiers.
Saturday, 18 January 2020 the Jasa Ski Resort on Rogla is hosting FIS World Cup in Parallel Giant Snowboarding, with 160 competitors from 24 countries registered.
The event is free to enter, spectators should gather on the platform in front of the Zreče Thermal Spa - see the map at the bottom - and the programme follows after a video from last year's event
9.00-11.00: Match qualifications
11.00-11.30: DJ party
11.30-11.45: Laško drumming group
11.45-12.00: DJ party
12.00-12.30: Polkaholiki – see below
12.30-12.45: Laško drumming group
12.45-13.00: DJ party
13.00-14.20: Finals and then trophy presentation
15:00-24:00 After party at Baru Uniorček with music from Zvita Feltna
A few more details, in Slovene, are here
Pokljuka is the largest closed forest area in Triglav National Park and one of the best known Slovenian plateaus, mostly due to the biathlon World Cup competitions it has hosted for decades. For those that are unfamiliar with the sport, biathlon is cross country skiing combined with shooting.
The World Cup biathlon races begin next Thursday, 23 January 2020, and for anyone looking for a good excuse for a trip into nature the forecasts say the weather will be sunny, like it was for this race in 2015:
For further details on the schedule, please click here.
Tickets cost €20 for Thursday and Friday and €25 for Saturday and Sunday. For details on special offers, click here.
The organisers are asking visitors to leave their vehicles in Bled and continue their journey to Pokljuka with a shuttle bus service that’s free with a World Cup ticket. For further details on how to get there here please click here.
STA, 14 January 2020 - The Slovenian men's handball team made it to the main round of the European Championship featuring the best 12 teams at the tournament after winning all three matches in the preliminary round, including against the hosts Sweden.
Slovenia opened the tournament in Group F in Sweden's Gothenburg last Friday by beating Poland 26:23, and followed the win up with a tough 21:19 victory against the Swedes on Sunday.
The cherry on the top was today's win against Switzerland, with Slovenia easily cruising past the Swiss for a 29:25 win and a perfect 3:0 score at the tournament under the new head coach Ljubomir Vranješ.
Vranješ said that the liked that the players "showed character", including the younger and lesser used players, which showed that "we have breadth in the team" and was important mentally and when it came to the playing form.
In the main round, Slovenia will play in Group II in Malmö and start the four-game phase on Friday and finish it on 22 January. The top two teams from each of the main round groups will make it to the semi-finals in Stockholm.
"I always want to win, and the players do too, and of course we had thought we would advance," the coach said, adding that "we have done a fantastic job in Gothenburg and now we are going to Malmö."
At the tournament co-hosted by Austria and Norway, Slovenia are also looking to secure a berth at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo or a slot at one of the three Olympic qualifying tournaments.
Only the Euro winner will secure a berth at the 2020 Summer Olympics. If the winner is Denmark, who have already won a ticket for Tokyo by winning the latest world championship, the runner-up will also secure an Olympic berth.
Another path to Tokyo is via three qualifying tournaments, hosted by France, Germany and Norway between 17 and 19 April, with two teams to qualify from each.
Sweden, Croatia and Spain have secured the appearance at the tournaments, and another two slots are open for European teams. Slovenia could secure a slot depending on their result at the championship.