Ljubljana/Zagreb – President Borut Pahor will be the guest of honour at the traditional Sinjska Alka equestrian competition in the Croatian town of Sinj this Sunday upon invitation of his Croatian counterpart Zoran Milanović. Pahor will be the first foreign statesman in this capacity at the tournament, the president’s office has announced.
A traditional annual knightly competition, Sinjska Alka is held on every first Sunday in August to commemorate the Croatian-Venetian victory in the Ottoman-Venetian war in 1715.
Only members of the Alkar Knights’ Association from Sinj are allowed to participate in the competition that features horsemen riding at full gallop and aim their lances at a hanging metal ring (alka).
The 307th iteration of the competition will be held under the sponsorship of President Milanović, who arranged with the association’s members in May to invite Pahor as the guest of honour, Thursday’s press release from the president’s office notes.
According to the Croatian press agency Hina, the knights’ association accepted the proposal as it wants to promote the competition, which in 2010 made it to the UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List, outside Croatia’s borders.
Pahor and Milanović last met on 15 June in Ohrid, North Macedonia, when they attended the Prespa Forum to discuss the future of the Western Balkans, and before that on 3 June in Brijuni, at the 9th meeting of the presidents of Austria, Croatia and Slovenia.
At the meeting, the trio of presidents advocated speeding up the EU’s accession negotiations with the Western Balkans countries, and condemned the war in Ukraine, agreeing that it cannot be resolved diplomatically at the moment.
Pahor and Milanović also met bilaterally on several occasions, most recently at the end of April, when Pahor was on a working visit to Zagreb. As co-chairs of the Brdo-Brijuni initiative, they agreed that the next meeting of its leaders will be held in Slovenia.