The Slovenia Times

Renovated Planica among world elite


who retired last year, set off down the inrun of the smaller of the two hills, simultaneously with Aleš Hlebanja on the giant hill. On landing they tore a ribbon, presenting it to three ministers responsible for sport since the renovation project started.

Milan Zver was in office when the project was launched, followed by Igor Lukšič and now Žiga Turk, who in his address noted that Planica was one of those bonding elements that the opposition and coalition never rowed about, while he also described it as a national symbol.

The event included the National Championships for male and female jumpers, which opened with a training and a test series. The young Jaka Hvala flew the longest, landing at 130.5 metres. Close to the 130-metre mark came world ski flying champion Robert Kranjec and his peer Jurij Tepeš.

Peterka, who bagged two Crystal Globes for the overall World Cup wins before retiring at the age of 32 last year, was happy about the opening: "The facilities are great...I enjoyed it, remembering all those feelings 14 years ago when I was in top form."

While Peterka as Slovenia's best ever jumper was the obvious choice, Hlebanja was selected for the maiden jump on the giant hill owing to his grandmother, who was the first to sell a plot of land on the location of the renovated hill.

Also thrilled was Jože Šlibar, who held the world ski flying record in 1961. "This centre with a plastic surface is crucial for progress of ski jumping in Slovenia. We have been training abroad so far, but now we'll be able to do it at home and we'll not only save money but make new too."

The twin hill inaugurated today is the first step towards a modern nordic centre to be completed in the Planica valley by 2014. The centre will feature nine jumping hills overall and a cross-country skiing centre with one kilometre of covered track that will be open throughout the year.

Bloudek's giant hill, whose construction was begun by engineer Stane Rožman but was completed by Bloudek in 1934, went down in history as a place where Austrian jumper Sepp Bradl became to first man in history to beat the 100-metre mark jumped on 19 March 1936, landing at 101 metres.


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