The Slovenia Times

Slovenian canoeists sweep European championships at home

Kayak competition in Tacen. Photo: Slovenian Kayak Association

Slovenian canoeists have scooped a triple win at the men's individual event at the Canoe Slalom European Championships in Tacen near Ljubljana. Slovenia also won the men's team event, silver in the women's team event and gold in the women's kayak team event.

At only 16, Žiga Lin Hočevar took the first place in the men's individual event on the final day of the championships on 19 May, followed by his compatriots Luka Božič and Benjamin Savšek.

Savšek, the Tokyo Olympic champion, finished first in the qualifiers, Božič took 4th and Hočevar 7th place.

But in the finals Hočevar finished his run without penalties and more than 2 seconds ahead of rivals. Božič reduced the advantage to 84 hundredths of a second to take second place. Savšek made a mistake early in his run but was able to recover from a lost position and finish third.

Hočevar then went on to win the team event with Savšek and Božič. Czechia took second place and Slovakia finished third.

"Amazing. I still cannot believe what a day I've just made. At 16, I am a double European champion. I don't know if I can ever repeat this," Hočevar was overwhelmed.

He dedicated the medals to his family. His mother helps him with psychological preparation and he trains together with his sister Eva Alina Hočevar, who is also competing in canoe and kayak events. Their father, Simon Hočevar, was the first Slovenian canoeist to win the European champion title in 1996.

In the women's canoe team event Eva Alina Hočevar, Lea Novak and Alja Kozorog took silver. Czechia won the event and Great Britain finished third.

Slovenia also won a medal on 18 May, when the women's kayak team took gold in the team event. Eva Terčelj, Ajda Novak and Eva Alina Hočevar finished ahead of the French and Czech teams.

The programme of the championship had to be shortened and revised because of the high water level of the Sava River, on which the competition is held. The river also flooded part of the stands on 17 May.


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