by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Preparing in Zagreb, Croatia; Slovenia fields a squad of seven players, Ljubisa Gajic (Class 2), Bojan Lukezic (Class 3), Primoz Kancler (Class 3), Andrej Znidar (Class 4), Luka Trtnik (Class 7) form the men’s contingent, for the women it is Andreja Dolinar (Class 4) and Barbara Meglic (Class 4).
“As a coach, at first I would like to praise members of my team. There have been many sacrifices and effort put into our preparations. I can calmly say that our young Luka Trtnik is well prepared. Behind him are two extremely difficult months, he has been training three hours a day. We trained hard and had enough sparring partners, so training was good. Overall it was important that Bojan Lukezic and Primoc Kancler had real rivals. The rest of the team also trained well and hard; with favourable conditions, true daily form and a bit of luck, we can win medals.” Darko Kojadinovic
Notably Luka Trtnik, 19 years old, was a silver medallist in Men’s Class 7 earlier this year at the Lignano Para Junior Open in Italy, whilst alongside Mateja Pintar, Andreja Dolinar and Barbara Meglic were gold medallists in Women’s Team Class 4, when the European Para Championships were last held in Slovenia, in 2007 in Kranska Gora.
Earlier in 2003 in Zagreb at the European Para Championships, Andreja Dolinar had also partnered Mateja Pintar, the Athens 2004 Women’s Singles Class 3 gold medallist, to success in Women’s Team Class 4-5.
Now retired from international play, Mateja Pintar is the ambassador for the 2017 European Championships.
“I wish EPINT 2017 will contribute to the promotion of sports for the disabled and to the positioning of such sports as important sports in Slovenia. This competition will also provide promotion for young people with disabilities to become more involved in sport. We wish to find new athletes that will compete on the highest level. But that does not even matter in everyday life. Organization of such an event is also a nice award and reward for Slovenia.” Mateja Pintar
To date, Slovenia has won 16 medals at European Para Championships, first was in 2001 in Frankfurt when Andreja Dolinar won bronze in the Women’s Open Wheelchair event.
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2017 European Championships: Live Stream