The Slovenia Times

Slovenia sending 59 athletes to Rio Olympics


Slovenia will be represented in Rio between 5 and 21 August in 14 sports: track and field, gymnastics, sailing, judo, kayaking and canoeing, cycling, mountain biking, table tennis, swimming, long-distance swimming, handball, shooting and triathlon.

The judo team will again be one of Slovenia's strongest weapons and is comprised of Tina Trstenjak (-63 kg), Anamari Velenšek (-78 kg), Rok Drakšič (-73 kg), Mihael Žgank (-90 kg), Adrian Gomboc (-66 kg).

All eyes will be on 25-year-old Trstenjak, the reigning World and European Champion and top-ranked judoka in her class.

The kayak and canoe team is also swarming with medal candidates, starting with three-time overall slalom kayak World Cup winner Peter Kauzer.

Another favourite is whitewater canoeist Benjamin Savšek, the holder of three World Championship medals, while a lot is also expected from European Championship silver medallist in the K-1 women's competition Urša Kragelj, the canoeing pair Luka Božič/Sašo Taljat and still water canoeist Špela Ponomarenko Janić.

Slovenia's veteran sailor Vasilij Žbogar, competing in the Finn class, will meanwhile be seeking his third medal at the Olympics and will be the flag bearer of the Slovenian Olympic team. Also harbouring medal hopes is the 470 class sailing pair Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol.

The most numerous Slovenian group will be the 14 handballers. The men's handball team will be making their third Olympics appearance. After an 11th place in Athens (2004) and and eight place in Sydney, expectations are even higher for Rio.

The current team, led by Montenegrin coach Veselin Vujović, have for instance also beaten handball giants Spain in the qualifiers for the Olympics and anything seems possible.

Meanwhile, the track and field team consists of Luka Janežič (400 m), Žan Rudolf (800 m), Robert Renner (pole vault), Anton Kosmač (marathon), Maja Mihalinec (200 m), Sabina Veit (200 m), Daneja Grandovec (marathon), Maruša Černjul (high jump), Tina Šutej (pole vault) and Martina Ratej (javelin). Aiming highest is pole vaulter Renner, who won bronze at the European Championships earlier this month.

Slovenia's swimmers in Rio, who will be happy with any top 8 finish, will be Anja Klinar (400 m medley, 400 m freestyle, 200 m butterfly, 4 x 200 m freestyle, 800 m freestyle), Tjaša Oder (800 m freestyle, 4 x 200 m), Damir Dugonjić (100 m breaststroke), Anže Tavčar (100 m freestyle, 200 m freestyle), Tjaša Vozel (100 m breaststroke), Martin Bau (1500 m freestyle), Robert Žbogar (200 m butterfly), Janja Šegel (4 x 200 m freestyle), and Tjaša Pintar (4 x 200 m freestyle).

A potential surprise is not excluded among Slovenia's cyclists Matej Mohorič, Jan Polanc, Simon Špilak, Primož Roglič, and Polona Batagelj.

The remainder of the Olympic team consists of gymnast Teja Belak (vault), mountain biker Tanja Žakelj, table tennis veteran Bojan Tokić, long distance swimmer Špela Perše, shooters Boštjan Maček (trap) and Živa Dvoršak, and sprint triathlete Mateja Šimic.


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