STA, 14 January 2020 - Slovenian tennis player Dalila Jakupović started the Australian Open qualifying tournament on Tuesday, but conceded after leading the match 6-4, 5-6 due to uncontrollable coughing and breathing difficulties, likely caused by smoke and air pollution from the continent's fires.
It is yet unclear whether her coughing fit was directly linked to fires wreaking havoc with the air quality, but many tennis players and coaches urged the organisers to postpone the matches.
After her retirement from the match with Switzerland's Stefanie Vögele, Jakupović told the press she was indeed having problems due to the polluted air.
"I think it's not fair to us, the players, besides, it's definitely not healthy," the 28-year-old said, adding she was shocked upon finding out the qualifying matches would go on today.
She highlighted that the organisers still had plenty of time until the tournament's start. "It was really bad. I've never experienced anything like it and I was quite scared. I was afraid of losing consciousness and falling down. That's why I dropped to my knees. I couldn't walk anymore," said Jakupović, who persisted playing for almost two hours.
Similar problems occurred during a match between Slovenian tennis player Blaž Kavčič and Brit Joy Clark. Kavčič won the match 7-6, 3-6, 6-2, but one of the ball kids fainted during the face-off.
Both players immediately stooped playing and came to the kid's help, report the Australian media, with the medical assistance being provided.
The first Grand Slam of the season takes place in Melbourne where air pollution has dropped to hazardous levels, the worst-rated in the world, with smoke from the fires lingering over the city. The authorities have warned the locals to take health precautions, stay at home and shut the doors and windows.
However, the organisers have assured the public they are constantly checking the improving levels and that umpires have the power to stop the matches to protect the participants' health.
"Not the best air quality this morning in #Melbourne," twitted today Patrick Mouratoglou, Serena Williams's coach, adding a photo of Melbourne blanketed in smoke haze.
STA, 11 January 2020 - Skier Žan Kranjec won the giant slalom FIS World Cup Alpine Skiing race in Adelboden, Switzerland, on Saturday. Four giant slaloms into the season, he has taken the lead in the giant slalom rankings. Croatian Filip Zubčić was second and French Victor Muffat-Jeandet took third place.
He was sixth after the first run and made it to the top following a mistake by Italian Luca di Aliprandini, who was in the lead after the first run.
This was Kranjec's first victory of the season, during which he has not placed lower than place four.
"This win means a lot to me," Kranjec said after the race. "I've always dreamt of winning a world cup race and then I finally made it last season," he said, referring to his first world cup victory.
"I've also dreamt of winning in Adelboden, for me one of the most demanding pistes, and now I've achieved this as well," Kranjec said.
"Right now I'm probably in the best shape of my career. The race today was hard but I know that anything is possible in the second run."
It seems however that Kranjec's victory was a surprise for the organising team, as they did not have a Slovenian flag ready for the award ceremony and had to borrow it from one of the spectators.
STA, 11 January 2020 - Cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič took second place in the sprint event of FIS Cross-Country event in Dresden, Germany, on Saturday. She has thus taken the lead in the cross country sprint rankings.
After clocking the fastest time in her group in qualifications, she was the fastest in her group in the quarter finals and second in her group in the semi-finals.
In the final run, Lampič finished 0.21 seconds slower than the winner, Swede Linn Svahn. Swede Maja Dahlqvist took third place, lagging only 0.5 seconds behind Lampič.
"I think Dresden is growing on me. There's a bit of a bitter aftertaste because I feel that I could have won today. But it is what it is and we'll keep on fighting tomorrow," she said, referring to the sprint relay scheduled for tomorrow.
"Today I was blocked in the home stretch and I couldn't take advantage of my speed. I couldn't make it to the front and had to wait for the piste to widen. I attacked by I didn't manage to win.
"Tomorrow Katja and I will do our best, improve our handoff and hope for a podium," Lamšič said, referring to her teammate Katja Višnar.
The first results of fan voting for the NBA All-star game later this year have revealed Dončić at the top, ahead of Giannis Antetokounmpo and James LeBron.
Fan votes account for only half of the votes for the star players of the East and West conferences. The other half is divided between players and the press. Seven reserve players are chosen by the head coaches, who are not allowed to vote for their own players. Out of the pool of 24 players two teams are put together by the leading vote getters of the respective conference, the team captains. Last year, these were LeBron and Antetokounmpo.
The voting will conclude on January 20, 2020 and the NBA All-star game will take place on February 16, 2020.
STA, 4 January 2019 - Slovenian cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič dominated the World Cup freestyle sprint event in Val di Fiemme, Italy, on Saturday in what was her third World Cup win.
The second place went to Norwegian Astrid Jacobsen and third to Jessica Diggins from the US.
"I'm very happy ... This was really an excellent day for me. My plan was to stay in the back and attack on the last hill," Lampič told the press after the race.
The Val di Fiemme sprint was the penultimate of the Tour de Ski series, the highlight of the World Cup season, which ends on Sunday.
Lampič is now in the lead in the series' sprint events with 75 points, and has climbed from the tenth to seventh place overall.
She rejoiced at her first World Cup victory in February 2017 and her second in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, last Sunday.
STA, 2 January 2019 - The Ljubljana city is aiming to increase the share of the population who take regular exercise to 75% by 2028 by offering a wide selection of subsidised sports activities for all groups of residents.
The city authorities say they will allocate about EUR 897,000 annually over the next three years to involve socially excluded, overfed and physically unfit children in sports as a leisure activity.
Children will be offered a choice of sport activities at their schools free of charge, along with several programmes of activities throughout the year.
Those include skating and cross-country running for kindergarten children, sport as play for children from first to sixth grade of primary school, and sports activities for older primary school children.
Children can learn various activities from cycling to playing golf, and the city also finances tournaments for primary school children.
While most of the activities are voluntary, all children in the first, third and six grades of primary school have to take mandatory swimming courses as part of the school curricula.
Sports associations are required to offer free training for socially deprived children.
The city would like to increase the share of residents who do sport at least twice a week to 75% by 2028, raising the share by 2% a year among adults and involving 10% more senior citizens in tutored exercise.
As part of the efforts the city is planning to hold 30 mass recreational events a year, and put in place standard equipment at outdoor fitness and street training areas and outdoor sports courts.
The city will allocate more than EUR 19 million for sports this year and almost EUR 25 million next year.
STA, 29 December 2019 - Slovenian cross-country skier Anamarija Lampič dominated the World Cup freestyle sprint event in Lenzerheide, Switzerland on Sunday, the second World Cup win in the 24-year-old's career.
Lampič beat the Norwegian Maiken Caspersen Falla by just 0.03 seconds, with the Russian Natalia Nepryaeva coming in third.
The Lenzerheide sprint was the second event of the Tour de Ski series, the highlight of the World Cup season, which ends on 5 February.
Lampič's only previous World Cup victory came in February 2017.
STA, 22 December 2019 - Slovenian alpine skier Žan Kranjec bagged his second podium finish in giant slalom World Cup this season on Sunday, finishing third in Italy's Alta Badia. This is the sixth World Cup podium finish in his career.
Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen finished first today, winning 0.31 seconds over surprise podium, Cyprien Sarrazin from France, who was 22nd after the first run. Kranjec finished 0.39 seconds off of Kristoffersen.
This is the second podium finish for Kranjc this season after he won bronze in the season opening race in Austria's Sölden at the end of October. In the second World Cup event this season, in Beaver Creek at the beginning of the month, he was fourth.
After today's result, Kranjc has 170 points in the World Cup giant slalom overall, which puts him on the second place behind only Kristoffersen, who is 23 points ahead
STA, 22 December 2019 - Slovenian ski jumper Peter Prevc finished second at a World Cup event in Engelberg, Switzerland, on Sunday in what is his first podium result this winter.
"I'm very happy today. I managed to show good jumps at the race. I proved what I've been saying for a while: that I can make it to the podium," Prevc said.
Ryoyu Kobayashi is the winner of the last World Cup race ahead of the 68th Four Hills Tournament, and Austrian Jan Hörl was third.
Four other Slovenians made it to the finals in very unstable weather today: Anže Lanišek finished 14th, Rok Justin was 16th, Domen Prevc 19th and Tilen Bartol 30th.
Anže Semenič and Timi Zajc failed to qualify.
The next stop for ski jumpers is Oberstdorf on 28 December.
STA, 17 December - Cyclist Primož Roglič, sport climber Janja Garnbret and the men's national volleyball team are the winners of the main awards conferred by the Association of Sports Journalists as the 2019 Athlete of the Year ceremony was held in Ljubljana on Tuesday evening.
Roglič, who entered the world elite this year by finishing 3rd overall at the Giro d'Italia and winning the Vuelta a Espana to become the first Slovenian ever to win a Grand Tour race, scored 272 points from 105 Slovenian sport journalists.
All our stories on Roglič can be found here
He finished ahead of last year's winner of the Athlete of the Year award for men, basketball player Luka Dončić. The NBA Rookie of the Year received 200 points, while third place went to world motocross champion Tim Gajser (106).
The association noted that "in the fourth season among the elite, [Roglič] only upgraded his previous achievements" and ended the season as the first-ranked cyclist in the prestigious ProCyclingStats (PCS) raking.
Garnbret defended last year's title of the Athlete of the Year among women, winning 269 points ahead of Alpine skier Ilka Štuhec (208), the world downhill champion, and world slalom canoe champion Eva Terčelj (78).
In August, Garnbret won gold medals in bouldering, lead and the combined at the IFSC Climbing World Championships in Japan to become the first ever climber to complete a hat trick in a single championship.
"A majority of her achievements, which have already made history, come with a note that she was the first or youngest to make them," the sports journalist association said about the 20-year-old.
All our stories on Garnbret can be found here
In line with expectations, the Slovenian men's national volleyball team was declared the best team this year, winning 95 out of the possible 105 votes. The award comes after they won silver at the European Championships in September, co-hosted by Ljubljana.
"With their performances, they again unified the Slovenian nation by filling up the Stožice Arena and kept sport lovers in front of their television screens," the association said about the improbable run made by the volleyball players.
The most promising young athlete is tennis player Kaja Juvan, who played in the second round of Wimbledon and peaked at No. 106 in the WTA rankings this season. "The goals in the coming season are much higher," the association said.
Biathlete Alex Cisar won the fair play award for his display of sportsmanship in a Slovenian Cup race in Pokljuka. He gave fellow competitor Tilen Gregorka his ski stick after Gregorka lost one of his own in a collision with Cisar.
It was a story that seemed to originate in the African football media, and then bounced back to Slovenia and beyond, but the man at the centre of it all, Donatus Edafe, has now dismissed reports that he was fired from ND Gorica for getting the daughter of the club's president pregnant.
Speaking to brila.net, a Nigerian-based sports site, the 26-year old attacker is quoted as follows:
Thank you for contacting me, I don’t know where the story emanated from. I was shocked when I read the report where they said I impregnated my former president daughter, I left Nova Gorica in 2018 and returned to Nigeria at the end of my contract. I can assure you that all is fine between me and the Club, and the president has no daughter. The story is completely false and it must be discouraged.