Ljubljana – The Slovenian team for the 2020 Summer Paralympics, which will take place in Tokyo between 24 August and 5 September, presented itself to the press in Ljubljana on Monday. The team featuring seven athletes in seven sports was greeted by Japanese Ambassador Hiromichi Matsushima, who wished them all the best at the games.
It is a tradition that the largest international multi-sport event for athletes with disabilities in the world follows the Summer Olympics at the same venues.
The Slovenian team was presented in front of a Lidl shop in Ljubljana where a countdown clock for the Tokyo Paralympic Games was installed already last year. Today, team members and guests symbolically watered a Japanese cherry tree.
As this is to symbolise the blossoming of Slovenian Paralympians, Ambassador Matsushima said at the ceremony he wished the Slovenian athletes all the best at the Games. “The Tokyo Olympics have concluded, now it’s your turn.
“I’ve been watching the Slovenian Olympic team and it has impressed me. I’m convinced that you too will impress Slovenia,” he added.
The Slovenian team is smaller than usual due to quota restraints and strict qualifying norms, and is a mixture of experienced athletes who have participated in the Summer Paralympics on multiple occasions and novices.
It features shooters Franček Gorazd Tiršek and Franc Pinter, track-and-field athlete Henrik Plank, cyclist Anej Doplihar, swimmer Tim Žnidaršič Svenšek, table tennis player Luka Trtnik and archer Dejan Fabčič.
Fabčič, who will be participating in his third Summer Paralympics in as many sports, will carry the Slovenian flag at the opening ceremony, while Pinter will be taking part in his eighth Olympic Games for athletes with disabilities.
Head of the Slovenian Paralympic Committee Damijan Lazar said he was convinced that both the veterans and novices would be able to bring out the best in them and wished him a lot of success, “as we know how difficult is to come to the Games”.