by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
Now he returns to Slovenia for the forthcoming 2017 European Para Championships which commence on Thursday 28th September and conclude on Wednesday 4th October.
He returns as both the Performance Director and as an advisory member of the Organising Committee.
During his period in Great Britain, he has raised fortunes from zero at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, to two gold and one silver last year in Rio de Janeiro. He has transformed the state of play in the United Kingdom; furthermore, he has witnessed progress globally and an ever more professional approach.
“Para table tennis has progressed with the speed of light in all countries but without hard work there is no success. Players are professionals, they know what they are working and training for; this is their job, their profession, they are making money in this sport. Also, with this job come obligations. In many countries the integration of people with disabilities into the world of sport is becoming increasingly important. There is no division between people with disabilities and non-disabled people.” Gorazd Vecko
Undoubtedly, with the help of his right hand man, Greg Baker, the Head Coach, the Great Britain team is ready, they have spent time practising in Lasko; also Gorard Vecko is prepared in an organisational role, proud and eager to welcome players, coaches and officials from the four corners of Europe.
“Lasko, as you can see for yourself, is a true paradise on earth. There is peace, greenery. My team feels really good here. I think players from my team have been in Lasko more than Slovenian players. Lasko is their second home. The hotel Thermana is trying to provide optimal conditions. The sports hall is also on a high level. The only thing missing is air conditioning, which should be added next year. Then it will be suitable for any sporting event.” Gorazd Vecko
Pertinently, Gorazd Vecko is the son of Edvard Vecko, who when Slovenia was part of the country known as Yugoslavia, joined forces with the likes of Dragutin Surbek, Istvan Korpa and Milivoj Karakasevic to become one of the most potent forces not only in Europe but worldwide.
In Men’s Team event at the European Championships in 1962 in Berlin, Yugoslavia won gold; in 1964 in Malmö, they secured silver. Later at the 1969 at the World Championships in Munich, the bronze medal was the result of their efforts.
After retirement from international play, Edvard Vecko turned his attention to coaching disabled players; son Gorazd has followed suit and with outstanding success.
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2017 European Championships: Daily Bulletin
2017 European Championships: Live Stream