The Slovenia Times

Handball coach, men's volleyball team win top sports prizes


Marta Bon had two tenures at the helm of the women's club RK Krim from Ljubljana, by far the most successful Slovenian handball club. She managed to take them to the top eight of the EHF Champions League multiple times.

Bon, who received the prize for exceptional contribution to development of Slovenian sport, was named head coach of the women's national handball team in 1996, taking the team to the World Women's Handball Championship in Germany the year later.

In her second stint as the national team head coach, she won the eighth place at the World Women's Handball Championship in Croatia in 2003, which is the best result ever in women's team sports at major competitions.

The recipient of the prize for international achievements, the men's national volleyball team, meanwhile provided for one of the biggest surprises at European championships by winning silver in Bulgaria last October.

The silver medal from Bulgaria was only the second medal in team sports in Slovenia at major competitions after the national handball team won silver at the European championships at home in 2004.

The turnaround for the talented team came when Italian Andrea Giani took over as head coach in 2015 to lead the team to gold medal at the Men's European Volleyball League in Poland for the first time in nation's history.

The Bloudek Prize for lifetime achievements meanwhile went to Rudi Zavrl, the former football player and official who was at the helm of the Slovenian Football Association (NZS) for 20 years.

Slovenian football and sport in general cannot be imagined without Zavrl, the award jury said, adding that under his leadership, the NZS had become an important member of associations such as FIFA and UEFA.

Zavrl has also been active outside football. He was a member of the expert council for sport of the Slovenian government and a member of the executive board of the Slovenian Olympic Committee.

"I believe and I share the opinion of all that receiving a Bloudek Prize is something exceptionally great and magnificent," Zavrl said on behalf of the recipients.

"The very fact that our work, results and contribution to the development of sport has been recognised inspires us with joy and pride," he added.

Last year the three main prizes, which come with a EUR 6,000 cheque, were given to Olympic medallists snowboarder Žan Košir and ski jumper Peter Prevc and retired athlete Miklavž Sever.


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