Competitors of Canoe Federation of Slovenia had another excellent season in which they collected numerous medals at the most important competitions. They were successful in all disciplines and age categories. This year 34 different athletes won medals at World and European Championships, Mediterranean games and World Cup races. The best paddlers of the year 2013 are sprint kayaker Špela Ponomarenko Janić and slalom canoeist Benjamin Savšek.
At the traditional Paddler of the year ceremony which took place in Ljubljana’s Nebotičnik Skyscraper Canoe Federation of Slovenia awarded the most successful athletes of the year 2013. The best female paddler of the year award went to Špela Ponomarenko Janić, sprint kayaker who had one of the best seasons so far. She opened the season with a bronze medal at World Cup race in Poland, continued with double win at Mediterranean Games in Mersin, where she topped both 200 and 500 metres finals, and concluded with a bronze medal at sprint canoeing World Championships in Duisburg, Germany. Besides that she also finished third in World Cup overall standings. “This year’s season was one of the best so far. I increased the form though the season until the World Championships, and won medals at almost every race I took part in. I finished among best three in overall standing for the first time, although I had to miss one race due to study obligations. I paddled in two finals A at World Championships’ for the first time. The only race this season that wasn’t as I expected was European Championships where I finished fifth and seventh, although I was in a good form there too,” said the best female paddler of the year 2013 who also received an award for the best female sprint kayaker of the year.
Canoeist Benjamin Savšek received an award for the best male paddler of the year 2013 and the best male whitewater paddler of the year. Savšek finished third at the Canoe slalom World Championships in Prague back in September. He is the second Slovenian canoeist to win individual medal at senior World Championships and the first after 30 year when his coach Jože Vidmar won a bronze medal in Merano. Benjamin Savšek was also third in team event of European Championships in Krakow together with Luka Božič and Anže Berčič. Slovenian trio excelled also team races of World Cup Series – they were on the winner’s podium in all five races. “I am really satisfied with this success. We endeavoured ourselves over the past seasons to achieve this result. This year’s world championships proved our work to be very successful. I still regret the last upstream gates where I lost the gold, but this is now even bigger motivation for me to upgrade this result in the next seasons,” Savšek evaluated the result of his career.
The best junior paddlers of the year are sprint kayakers Alan Apollonio and Matic Klobučar. Young paddlers first stood out at Junior Sprint Canoeing European Championships where they finished second in junior K1 1000 metres race. They repeated their result at Junior World Championships in Canada where they finished second in the same event. With this silver medal they became the first Slovenians with a medal from Junior Sprint Canoeing World Championships.
The best male sprint kayaker of the year is Jošt Zakrajšek who won silver medal at 1000 metres at Mediterranean games in Turkey. He also finished ninth twice in the 1000 metres and 5000 metres finals of World Championships in Duisburg. The best female whitewater paddler of the year is Eva Terčelj. She finished third in team event of canoe slalom World Championships in Prague together with last year’s paddler of the year Urša Kragelj and Ajda Novak. She won her first ever world cup win in La Seu d’Urgell and was also third at world cup in Tacen. Canoe Federation of Slovenia recognized also all the other successes Slovenian competitors had this year. Slovenian paddlers won numerous medals at World and European Championships in Wildwater Canoeing, several medals at world cup races in slalom, sprint and wildwater canoeing, and also numerous medals at Junior Championships in previously mentioned disciplines.
Female paddler of the year: Špela Ponomarenko Janić
Male paddler of the year: Benjamin Savšek
Female whitewater paddler of the year: Eva Terčelj
Male whitewater paddler of the year: Benjamin Savšek
Female sprint canoeing paddler of the year: Špela Ponomarenko Janić
Male sprint canoeing paddler of the year: Jošt Zakrajšek
Junior paddler of the year: Alan Apollonio and Matic Klobučar (sprint canoeing K2)
Other awards for sporting achievements in the year 2013:
Nejc Žnidarčič, Luka Božič and Sašo Taljat, Blaž Cof and Simon Hočevar, Anže Berčič, Urša Kragelj, Ajda Novak, Luka Žganjar and Peter Žnidaršič, Peter Kauzer, Jure Lenarčič, Simon Oven, Tim Kolar, Vid Debeljak, Jakob Jeklin, Niko Testen, Alja Kozorog, Nina Bizjak, Neža Vrevc, Vid Karner, Martin Srabotnik, Vid Kuder Marušič, Rok Markočič, Anže Urankar, Žan Jakše.