Former paddlers, kayaker Milan Zadel and canoeist Andrej Jelenc, were accepted to the Slovenian Sporting Hall of Fame. Zadel and Jelenc, who is also ECA’s slalom technical delegate, are the first paddlers of Canoe Federation of Slovenia to be honoured. Slovenian Sports Journalists” Association has been honouring the best Slovenian sportsmen who have impacted their time with exceptional sporting achievements not only in Slovenia but internationally since 2011.
The first two Slovenian Sportsmen accepted to the Hall of Fame were the best sportsmen of the previous century – gymnasts Leon Štukelj (won six Olympic medals from 1924 – 1936) and Miroslav Cerar (won three Olympic medals in 1964 and 1968, five medals at World Championships’ and 15 medals at European Championships’). Last year the second group of athletes who have been active until the 1970s was honoured, while this year also competitors of Canoe Federation of Slovenia found their place among the best Slovenian sportsmen.
Milan Zadel won the first Slovenian canoeing medal at the World Championships under the flag of Yugoslavia at the World Championships in 1953. Wildwater canoeist Andrej Jelenc won several medals in his 17-year long career. Besides medals at European Cups he won individual gold, silver and bronze medals and one gold, two silver and three bronze medals in team races of World Championships’. He was also selected best Slovenian sportsman of the year in 1989.
“It’s an honour to be accepted to this Sporting Hall of Fame where the best Slovenian sportsmen are gathered. I’m very proud to be in such an excellent company. This reward will have a special place among the medals and trophies I’ve won. This is a nice recognition of all the hard work, but I have to point out this is not only an honour for me solely but also for Slovenian canoeing,” said Jelenc.
World Championships: 1 bronze medal
Canoeing in the 1950s represented the sport of students and adventurists, but most of all the summer sport of alpine skiers. The most prominent athletes at the beginning of the 1950s were Rudi Malahovsky, Cveto Močnik, Branko Drofenik, Milan Zadel and Jože Ilija who was also an Olympian in alpine skiing. Milan Zadel from Ljubljana was the first one who stood out in the international arena. The student of Faculty of Law and alpine ski racer made himself famous in 1953 with a bronze medal he won in Merano. Among the 70 competitors from 12 countries he set the same time as second placed Austrian Rudolf Gruber, but he finished third due to a touch in the last gate and 15 seconds penalty. World Champion Walter Kirschbaum of Germany was only three seconds faster. Two years later when Tacen hosted the world championships, Ilija, the second of the pioneers of this sport, completed Zadel’s success with a bronze medal.
Andrej Jelenc (8. 7. 1963, Ljubljana)
Individual: 1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze
Team: 1 gold, 2 silver, 3 bronze
Former excellent wildwater canoeist collected the medals at the biggest competitions throughout his 17-year long career. At the World Championships’ he won a medal of each colour in individual events: he won gold in Frostburg, silver in Mezzana and bronze in Bovec. He won even more medals in team events. Even before the end of this sporting career he devoted himself to the coaching work in Kayak and Canoe Club Ljubljana, then led the junior slalom and wildwater national team as head coach and continued his work in senior national team. He received numerous awards for his achievements, among them the Bloudek award, the highest Slovenian sporting award, and has been selected as Slovenian sportsman of the year in 1989. He has been and still is active in several technical associations and organizations. He is the team manager at Canoe Federation of Slovenia, he has been a member of technical committee at Canoe Federation of Slovenia, a member of technical committee at Ljubljana’s sports association and a member of sports technical committee of Republic of Slovenia.
Sportsmen, accepted to the Hall of Fame:
2011 – Leon Štukelj (gymnastics), Miroslav Cerar (gymnastics)
2012 – Rudolf Cvetko (fencing), Josip Primožič Tošo (gymnastics), Stane Derganc (gymnastics), Stanko Lorger (athletics), Ivo Daneu (basketball), Jože Šlibar (ski jumping), Janez Polda (ski jumping), Draga Stamejčič Pokovec (athletics), Janez Žirovnik (cycling), Nataša Urbančič Bezjak (athletics), Branko Oblak (football), Aljoša Žorga (basketball), Vinko Jelovac (basketball), Mima jauševec (tennis), Rowing eight boat (4th OG Tokio 1964), Rudi Hiti (ice hockey), Peter Šumi (gymnastics), Miro Steržaj (ninepin bowling), Albin Felc (ice hockey)
2013 – Franc Smolej (cross country skiing), Ciril Praček (alpine skiing), Branko Ziherl (diving), Tone Cerer (swimming), Tine Mulej (alpine skiing), Janko Štefe (alpine skiing), Ivan Toplak (football), Janko Kosmina – Mario Fafangel (sailing), Tine Šrot (gymnastics), Jurij Uršič (cycling), Edvard Vrecko (table tennis), Ištvan Korpa (table tennis), Tone Gale (ice hockey), Milan Zadel (canoeing), Stanko Topolčnik (judo), Bojan Križaj (alpine skiing), Peter Vilfan (basketball), Bojan Ropret (cycling), Boris Strel (alpine skiing), Alenka Cuderman (handball), Borut Petrič (swimming), Miran Tepeš (ski jumping), Jure Franko (alpine skiing), Primož Ulaga (ski jumping), Andrej Jelenc (canoeing), Darjan Petrič (swimming), Matjaž Debelak (ski jumping), Mateja Svet (alpine skiing).