The Slovenia Times

Top Competitions



Pokljuka Every year Pokljuka organises Biathlon World Cup events. This year the World Cup will start on December 4th in Kontiolahti, Finnland. The competitions in Pokljuka are scheduled from Wednesday January 7th, to Sunday January 11th next year. On the first two days of the competition the sprint competitions will be held, while on Friday and Saturday the pursuit events will take place. The highlight will undoubtedly be the mass start for men and women on the Sunday. Last year the organizers had a lot of problems with the weather since there was not enough snow. The competition, which was scheduled for early December, had to be cancelled and moved to â„¢stersund, Sweden. The Pokljuka organizing team had to travel almost 2700 km to organize the rescheduled event. Normally, it takes place near Bohinj and Bled and welcomes anyone who believes that sports and recreation are a part of life. The Event that made Pokljuka famous worldwide took place in February 2001 - the Biathlon World Championship. Nobody expected over 5000 spectators in the middle of the working week, and even more turned up at the weekend. Pokljuka became a host of top events in the 1991/92 season with the Europa Cup. World Cup competitions started in 1993 and in the past ten years Pokljuka has regularly appeared on the World Cup calendar. In 1999 Pokljuka hosted the Junior World Biathlon Championship , while two seasons ago the Military World Championships and the Archery Biathlon World Championships were also held there (the latter will be again hosted in February 2004). This January (2003) The European Youth Olympic Festival's biathlon events took place at Pokljuka, as Slovenia hosted the event. Pokljuka is generally a top-sporting resort since many other sportsmen, such as rowers, cyclists, athletes and handballers, train and build their strength here for the top events. Planica One of the most anticipated events is certainly the Ski Jumping World Championships in Planica. On Thursday February 19th 2004 the qualifications will take place, followed on Friday and Saturday by the Individual Ski Jumping competition and on the Sunday the Team competition. Planica is the western-most valley of the northwestern part of the Julian Alps, and is approximately 3 kilometres from the triple border of Austria, Italy and Slovenia. Stanko Bloudek was a member of the Yugoslav Winter Sport Association. He and Ivan RoZman made blueprints for a course that would allow up to 100 metre long jumps. In 1934 Birger Ruud from Norway was the first winner at Planica, jumping 92 metres and setting both a course and World record on his 23rd birthday. Planica subsequently became famous all over the world. Lado and Janez GoriSek took over the construction heritage left by Bloudek and made blueprints for a Ski Jump better known as the Giant. It was designed in a way that allowed enlargements. They prepared the first competition on the Giant on March 19th 1969. It was a historic event because of the five World Records set at the competition and for the 90,000 spectators who came to see the event. For the last few seasons the final competition of the Ski Jumping World Cup has been on the Giant hill in Planica. Last March Matti Hautamaeki from Finland jumped 231 metres and set a new World Record. In good, sunny weather conditions the competition is watched by over 120,000 spectators over the four days. Maribor Slovenia has a great tradition in Alpine skiing. This year Maribor will host the best women skiers in the 40th Golden Fox competition for giant slalom and slalom. The giant slalom is scheduled for Saturday, January 24th and on Sunday we will be able to see the best slalom skiers in action. In January 2003 over 15,000 spectators watched the Swedish sensation Anja Paerson win both competitions beating even Janica Kostelic in an unbelievable slalom race. (Besides the Golden Fox last year there was also World Cup Telemark and Snowboarding at Pohorje). Mariele Goitschel of France won both slalom competitions in 1964. Every year since then the Alpine Ski World Cup for Women has been held in Maribor. Over many years the organizers have had a lot of problems with snow, but they have always managed to win the battle with nature and the competition has always taken place. The most unforgettable competitions are the ones that saw Slovenians triumph: Mateja Svet (giant slalom 1988, 1990 and slalom in 1988), NataSa Bokal (slalom in 1991) and UrSka Hrovat (slalom in 1994) as well as, of course, the legendary Swiss skier Vreni Schneider (winner of seven Golden Fox Trophies). The last time Slovenia was in the honours at Maribor was when Tina Maze took second place in the Giant slalom in 2002. Kranjska Gora The Alpine Ski World Cup for men will again be held at Kranjska Gora, this year for the 43rd time. Today the valley of the upper Sava, one of the most picturesque Alpine valleys, represents an important winter sports centre. The first competition for the Vitranc Cup was in 1961. The giant slalom is planned for Saturday February 28th 2004, followed by the slalom race the day after. The Podkoren course is one of the most difficult in the World Cup series with a maximum incline of 47%. Many famous skiers have taken part in the Podkoren race over the past 42 years and have also won the competition for the Vitranc Cup. Bojan KriZaj (1982 and 1986) and Rok PetroviC (1985) both won honours representing Yugoslavia at that time, but the last winner for Slovenia was Jure KoSir in the slalom race on January 1999. Last season American Bode Miller was the fastest in the giant slalom while Ivica Kostelic from Croatia won the slalom race.


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