Update - this story appears to be false, with more details here
Ghana Web reports that an unnamed Nigerian football player at an also unnamed Slovenian club has been fired six months’ after joining the team for getting the daughter of the club’s President pregnant. According to the story, four Nigerians currently play in Slovenia: Bede Osuji (ND Gorica), Temitope Nelson (NŠ Drava Ptuj), Gerald Chiyoke (team unknown) and Sulaiman Adedoja (team unknown).
The player has now returned to Nigeria, fearing public opinion in Slovenia, and is considering contacting FIFA to register a formal complaint at being fired for a personal matter. He is quoted as follows in the story:
The club got to know [that my girlfriend was pregnant] and summoned me for a meeting. I got there and admitted that I am responsible for the pregnancy and I was told to stay at home and not to be seen around the club premises until I am instructed to return.
A week later I was called to the office and told that my agent has been informed about their plans to terminate my contract for gross misconduct and indiscipline.
Now I don't know what will happen to her and the child since I'm back in Nigeria. They have forced her to block me on all social media platforms so we have not been communicating. The few friends I made at the club are also scared of speaking to me about her apparently they don't want to run into trouble with the team. I'm confused right now.
STA, 6 December 2019 - Luka Dončić has been named Sports Illustrated's 2019 Breakout of the Year in what is only the latest in a series of titles won by the 20-year-old Slovenian NBA superstar.
"Each year, sports fans witness a performance that someday we'll look back on as the moment that a star was born," which is the "spirit of achievement and arrival" that the American sports magazine honours.
The Breakout of the Year title winners in recent years been US NFL footballer Alvin Kamara, Cameroon basketball player Joel Embiid and Puerto Rican baseball player Francisco Lindor.
The Dallas Mavericks small forward, who made his debut in the US National Basketball Association (NBA) in 2018, was named NBA player of the month for October and November.
He also holds the record for the most triple-doubles by a player before his 21st birthday in NBA history and currently leads the NBA in triple-doubles.
After 19 games this season Dončić ranks third in the league in scoring (30.6 points), second in assists per game (9.6) and 15th in rebounding (9.9 rebounds per game).
Sports Illustrated will present the Breakout of the Year honour at its Sportsperson of the Year event in New York on 9 December.
STA, 28 November 2019 - Slovenian Damir Skomina has been declared the world's best football referee in 2019 by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). He was selected by football experts from 90 countries in the world.
Skomina, who was also the first Slovenian referee to officiate a UEFA Champions League final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool in Madrid on 1 June, thus became the 19th holder of the title that is being conferred since 1987.
The 43-year-old scored 136 points in the vote, with the second-placed, German Felix Brych, who held the title in 2017, scoring 129 points. Skomina took the title for the first time.
According to the IFFHS, Skomina has put on a consistent showing throughout the season. He has so far officiated more than 530 matches, including 301 Slovenian national league matches, 50 Champions League matches, 17 European League matches, 60 international UEFA matches, a world championship match and an Olympic tournament.
The IFFHS also picked the best goalkeeper of 2019, with Slovenia's Jan Oblak placing third, behind Brazilian Alisson in first and German Marc-Andre ter Stegen of Barcelona in second place.
Oblak from Madrid's Atletico has been in the top three best goalkeepers in the last three seasons.
STA, 24 November 2019 - Slovenia's Anže Lanišek placed second after Norway's Daniel Andre Tande at the first individual event of the new, 41st Ski Jumping World Cup season in Poland's Wisla on Sunday. The first World Cup podium result for the 23-year-old comes only a day after the Slovenian team placed fourth in the team event.
Lanišek, whom head coach Gorazd Bertoncelj had mentioned as one of the Slovenian favourites this season, said he had not expected to finish among the top three at the season opener.
"I'm very happy. I've been waiting for four years to finally get to the podium. I didn't think this would happen as early as Wisla.
"I'm quite satisfied although my jumps are not yet at the right level," said Lanišek, whom his friends have nicknamed "frog".
Placing third was Poland's Kamil Stoch, while the defending World Cup winner Ryoyu Kobayashi of Japan placed fourth.
Lanišek's success was rounded off by Timi Zajc, who placed sixth; his 134-metre jump was the longest in the second series.
Peter Prevc placed 15th, Domen Prevc 23rd, Rok Justin 27th and Tilen Bartol 29th.
On Saturday, the Slovenian team - Anže Lanišek, Anže Semenič, Timi Zajc and Peter Prevc - placed fourth after securing third place in series one.
Bertoncelj is very happy with both season openers, saying the boys did a really good job.
"I'm happy we don't have only one good individual, but several good ones, a good team as a whole," he said after today's event.
STA, 19 November 2019 - Slovenian basketball star Luka Dončić continues to break new ground in the NBA, having set a new Slovenian record in points scored. The 20-year-old passed Goran Dragić (40) on Monday evening by scoring 42 points in a win of his Dallas Mavericks against the Texas rival San Antonio Spurs.
In the 117:110 win for the Mavericks, Dončić also added 12 assists and 11 rebounds for what is already his sixth triple-double early in the new season.
Playing in his second year in the best basketball league in the world, the Slovenian became the second-youngest NBA player with a 40-point triple-double, trailing only LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Dončić and James are the only players in the history of the league to manage the feat before turning 21.
By scoring 42 points, Dončić set a new Slovenian record for points, overtaking Goran Dragić and his career-high 40 points scored in February 2014, when he played for the Phoenix Suns.
Speaking to a reporter after the match, Dončić said that the "match was special, it's a rivalry", referring to the San Antonio Spurs, adding that "we always want to win every such game."
He said he had a dream during a pre-game nap that he would score 16 points in the first quarter. "And then I scored 17, so dreams don't come true," he said jokingly, while giving his teammates the credit for the win.
ESPN meanwhile quoted Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle as saying that "this guy can do anything he wants to on a basketball court. He's having one of those magical runs right now. It's a phenomenal thing to watch."
Dončić is actually almost averaging a triple-double in the first 12 games of the season, recording 28.5 points, 10.7 rebounds and 9.1 assists per game, for a player efficiency rating (PER) of 30.05, in which he is 4th in the league.
Slovenian basketball player Luka Dončić has confirmed that he will play for the Slovenian national team in the Olympic qualifiers which will take place from June 23-28, 2020.
Dončić, who is currently playing for Dallas Mavericks in the NBA, told AS, the Spanish sports magazine, that he is also hoping for his NBA team to qualify for the playoffs this season, which will take place between April 19 and June 5th, 2020.
When exactly Dončić can return to his national team therefore depends on the success of the Mavericks this season, who are currently ranked seventh in the Western conference. The first eight teams of each two conferences qualify for the playoffs. For all non-qualifying teams, the regular season ends on April 15, 2020.
The last time Dončić played for the national team was in 2017, when Slovenia won the European Championship under the brilliant guidance of team’s leader Goran Dragić and the chief coach Igor Kokoškov. Dragić has meanwhile retired from the national team while Kokoškov has, following Slovenia’s unsuccessful bid for World Championship in China, recently switched to the Serbian national team, whom Slovenia surprisingly beat in the 2017 Eurobasket finals.
Whether Slovenia is going to meet Serbia in the Olympic qualifiers will be decided by a draw on November 27, 2019, which will determine which of the five teams Slovenia will need to play against in order to end up first in the group and hence qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
STA, 17 November 2019 - The Slovenian men's national football team beat Latvia 1:0 in Ljubljana on Saturday evening in the penultimate round of qualifying for the UEFA Euro 2020, but the door to the tournament have been closed as Austria defeated North Macedonia to claim the second place in Group G.
Despite having only slight theoretical chances of making it to the UEFA Euro 2020, Slovenia played very well in front of the home crowd of some 11,000 in the rainy Stožice Stadium, but failed to score in the first half.
It was actually Latvia's Igors Tarasovs who scored an own goal in the 53rd minute to give Slovenia an 1:0 advantage, which they kept until the end, while having some more good chances to increase the lead.
However, the win was to no avail as Austria, the main rivals for the second spot in the group, which directly leads to the final tournament, beat North Macedonia 2:1 in Vienna last evening to join the group winners Poland as the runner-up.
Speaking after the match, which ended before Austria played North Macedonia, Slovenia's head coach Matjaž Kek said that "we showed our will and desire, but also uncertainty in certain moments."
Forward Andraž Šporar said that it was a must-win game after the two losses in the October round of the qualifying, in which the Latvians "eventually scored an own goal, if we weren't able to, but the three points is what counts."
With 14 points out of nine matches, Slovenia are currently third in the group, trailing Austria (19) and Poland (22), whom they will play in Warsaw on Tuesday to wrap up the unsuccessful qualifiers.
STA, 12 November 2019 - The designers of the Planica Nordic Centre in north-eastern Slovenia has received a gold medal for an architectural achievement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities (IAKS) among almost 100 competing projects.
The awards were announced at the 26th international IAKS congress in Cologne, Germany, last week, and presented officially on Tuesday by the Slovenian Ministry of Education, Science and Sport.
The Nordic skiing complex with one ski flying hill, seven ski jumping hills and a cross-country skiing track is one of the seven recipients of the gold medals among a total of 98 competing projects.
What speaks of the success of the Planica Nordic Centre is that the award for an architectural achievement in the past went to the likes of Beijing National Stadium, also called The Bird's Nest, and National Stadium in Singapore.
For instance, the latter cost EUR 1.2 billion build, while the cost of the Planica Nordic Centre was around EUR 48 million.
The project by three architectural firms (Stvar, Abiro and Akka) has been recognised by an international jury as a "modern complex created by expanding and modernising the existing facilities in the Triglav National Park."
According to the jury, it is noted for versatile and year-round use for elite sport and major international events, as well as tourism and recreation, and is marked by its clear, linear design in harmony with the landscape.
The jury has also been impressed by the "magnificent integration of the facility into the landscape" and the use of an underground tunnel for cross-country skiing in the summer.
Matej Blenkuš of Abiro said at today's event that while there were financial constraints, the architects were happy to "build in one of the most beautiful environments in Slovenia."
Such an environment puts overly ambitious architects on realistic grounds, as it sends a message that no one should date to change such an environment," he added.
Aleš Vodopivec of Stvar said that the project was an "unbelievable challenge, but the award proves that we have been successful".
Apart from hosting the Ski Jumping World Cup finale every year, the Planica Nordic Centre will host the Nordic World Ski Championships in 2023, at which tens of thousands of fans are expected to show up.
All our stories on Planica are here
STA, 11 November 2019 - Slovenian Rea Kolbl has defended her title of the women's world champion in the top category at the Spartan Ultra obstacle course race in Sweden's Aare, covering 112 kilometres in difficult weather conditions and terrain in a challenge lasting a full 24 hours.
The 28-year-old Slovenian was the last woman standing in the race in the elite category, and the only one to run the last, 14th lap, to celebrate victory in what was probably the most difficult course in the history of the series.
Kolbl started the race at midnight, defying extreme conditions, including sub-zero temperatures, to conquer more than 8,500 metres in altitude difference and go over 350 obstacles.
"It was very difficult. I had to improvise a lot, but the beauty of such races is exactly in being able to solve problems quickly when many things start to go wrong, from the weather to selection of food and equipment," she said.
"I had started thinking about giving up one lap before the end because of cramps, but I'm happy that I pushed myself some more and beat all the competitors," she added after winning her third title in a row.
Born in Ljubljana, Kolbl has lived and trained in Colorado, US, for ten years, and is the only Slovenian competitor in obstacle course racing in the world at the highest level.
As a youngster she trained artistic gymnastics, winning a national championship several times and representing Slovenia internationally.
After finishing secondary school in Ljubljana, Kolbl graduated in astrophysics at University of California, Berkeley, publishing her first article in the Science academic journal at 22 years of age.
It was in the US that she fell in love with running, cycling and skiing, establishing herself as a trail runner in distances up to 50 miles between 2012 and 2016, setting several records.
Later on, she added skyrunning - extreme mountain running above 2,000 metres of altitude - and obstacle course racing, being particularly fond of the challenges in the Spartan Race series.
More than 200 events are taking place each year as part of the series, featuring more than a million competitors, from elite athletes to recreationists, in around 40 countries.
Kolbl also came to Sweden as an ambassador of Spartan Race Slovenia, the first mountain obstacle course race in the country, which will be hosted by Kranjska Gora between 22 and 24 May 2020.
"I would like to inspire people to go outdoor, to join me in the mountains and competition courses," she had told the newspaper Dnevnik.
STA, 27 October 2019 - Ethiopian runner Kelkile Gezahegn Woldaregay won the men's marathon race in Ljubljana on Sunday, clocking in at 2:07:29, the second fastest time in the history of the Ljubljana course. The women's race was won by Bornes Chepkirui Kitur from Kenya, who set a new women's record with a finish time of 2:21:26.
Woldaregay's time comes second only to that of his fellow countryman Sisay Lemma Kasaye, who managed a splendid 2:04:58 last year but was not in Ljubljana this year, while Kitur improved on the women's record of 2:22:58 set in 2018 by Kenyan Visiline Jepkesho.
Kelkile Gezahegn Woldaregay. Source: LJ Marathon Facebook
Second and third place in the men's race went to Kenyans Anthony Maritim (2:07:52) and Vincent Rono (2:08:06), and in the women's competition to Eshete Shitaye from Bahrain (2:21:33) and Kenyan Dina Chemtai Kipoyogei (2:22:07).
The best Slovenian runners at the race and thereby the Slovenian national marathon champions were Primož Kobe (2:29:53), who finished ninth, and Saša Pisk (2:56:50), who was 12th.
This year's Ljubljana Marathon, a two-day event, had 19,612 runners, including over 7,000 youngsters who participated in Saturday's junior races. Today's 10 km, 21 km and 42 km events had 12,440 participants.
The head of the organising committee Gojko Zalokar was happy with the event, including the results, noting that two fast Ethiopian pacemakers had not been able to attend after to obtain visas.
The budget of this year's marathon was EUR 1.4 million, while it exceeded EUR 1.6 million last year as a result of bonuses for new records both in the men's and women's competition. Zalokar explained that last year's winner got a total of 90,000 for his victory and bonuses.
It was a disappointing weekend for Slovene climbing fans in the penultimate Speed and Lead World Cup of the season in Xiamen (China), as Slovenian athletes didn’t win any medals in any of the categories.
Xiamen’s Lead World Cup started this past Saturday, October 19th, with the qualification round. Bad route-setting was a constant all over the weekend, but we could see a first glimpse of it on this first stage, as four women, including Janja Garnbret and Lučka Rakovec, topped both routes in their category – usually it’s highly unlikely than even one competitor can achieve it. Moreover, fourteen female athletes made it to hold 35+ on the first route, and topped the second one.
All three Slovene women who were competing (Garnbret, Rakovec and Krampl) progressed to semifinals on Sunday, where spectators were hoping for a better route-setting that could make the competition slightly more interesting. However, this didn’t happen, and again it was too easy for the athletes to make it to higher points of the wall, as seventeen climbers made it to hold 33+ or higher, including Lučka Rakovec and Janja Garnbret, who topped the route. Mia Krampl, on the other hand, slipped on hold 18 and was out of the final round.
Fans were hoping that after such disastrous rounds the route-setting would improve for the finals, but they were disappointed. Sadly, the route was once again too easy and the climbers cruised up the wall. With the exception of Ai Mori, who fell on hold 10+, all the other athletes made it to hold 31+ or higher. Janja Garnbret and Lučka Rakovec fell on the last move of the route, but even that was not enough to make it to the podium and they finished in 4th and 6th places after the countback to the semifinals. Unfortunately, this meant that Janja now has no chance of winning the overall lead title in 2019, which would have meant that she’d won everything this season. This doesn’t mean, however, that this season hasn’t been a dream for Slovenia’s female climbers. Garnbret has won the Overall Bouldering Title and has also won a gold medal in all three categories she competed in (Lead, Bouldering and Combined) in the World Championships held two months ago; Rakovec has won her first gold medal in a European Championship and a bronze one in an International World Cup; and Mia Krampl won Silver medal on the Lead World Championship.
The situation was no better on men’s side, and again the route-setting can only be described as poor. Thirty-five athletes out of 53 topped the second route, and eight of them topped both. As a result, for example, both of the Slovene men (Jernej Kruder and Anže Preharc) were out of the semifinals round, even though they topped one route and made it further to hold 30+, a really high up stage on the wall.
However, thanks to this results we now have new Overall Lead World Champions in men’s and women’s categories. Although Adam Ondra (CZE) only participated in three World Cups, he has successfully claimed the title after winning all three competitions. On the women’s side, Chaehyun Seo (KOR), the revelation of the season who is only 15 years old, won the overall title.
Xiamen was also the site of the Speed World Cup, where non-speed specialist such as Adam Ondra himself had to compete in order to be able to participate in the Olympic Combined Qualifier that will take place in Toulouse in a month. As the highlight of the competition, Aries Susanti Rahayu (INDO) broke the female world record in Speed for the final round, reaching the top in 6.995 seconds. She is the first woman to complete the speed route in less than 7 seconds.
The last Lead World Cup event of the season will take place this next weekend in Inzai, Japan. As the main titles have already a winner, we will have to wait and see which athletes actually decide to participate in the last World Cup of the year, and hope that the route-setting is better this time.