Tag Archives: Slovenia

Teja Gregor-win!

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As you probably all know Teja Gregorin is another Slovenia biathlete who comes from Ihan, where all great Slovenian biathletes come from! Along with Klemen Bauer and Peter Dokl she makes up the triangle of talent from the small town. Teja was born in Ljubljana on the 29th of June, 1980 and is her country’s top female biathlete.

She switched to biathlon form cross country skiing and has been a member of the national team since 2002. She has had a pretty amazing career but like a fine Slovenian wine she seems to be getting better with age. In August this year in the Summer Biathlon Championships in Tyumen she won gold in both the Sprint and Pursuit and took bronze in the Mixed Relay. However her best result so far has to be the bronze medal she won in the Olympics in Sochi.

Teja also has a couple of silver medals from the Biathlon World Championships. She won Mixed Relay silver in Ruhpolding 2012 with Andreja Mali, Klemen Bauer and Jakov Fak. Back in Pyeongchang 2009 she claimed an individual medal finishing second in the 15km Individual. She has in fact taken part in 10 World Championships and 3 Olympic Games which makes her one of the most experienced women competing today.

On the World Cup she has been just as successful. She has 4 podium finishes to her name, 2 second places and 2 third places. Her best ever finish in the Total Score came in season 2010/11 when she was 8th overall and last season she came 13th. Since 2005 she has never finished the season outside the TOP 40 overall which is a remarkable achievement and a tribute to her incredible consistency.

There is however one thing missing from Teja’s fantastic career and that is of course a win. She has come close on several occasions but has never stood on the top step yet on the World Cup or in the Winter World Championships. That is why it was so pleasing to see her win in Tyumen this summer. It shows that she can do it and of all the biathletes it is Teja that I would love to see take a win this coming season. I am sure she is desperate to do it too.

So why is it in such a long and consistently good career that she hasn’t won? Well firstly it is really hard to win a race because there are so many great biathletes competing and there is always new talent coming through. Secondly Teja has some issues with her standing shoot. It is essential to victory as it is always the last shoot before the end of every race. Hers is not terrible but her prone stats have never dropped below 90% whereas her stand is normally between 70-80% which makes the crucial difference between coming second or first in the race. Her ski speed is not amongst the TOP10 and this is also a major factor in her results.

At 34 Teja doesn’t have too many years left at the top level but I am sure she will make the most of them. I know all biathlon fans wish her well and we are all hoping that we can soon congratulate Teja on her first Gregor-win!

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Slovenia’s best Biath-Pete!

According to the biathlon 23 system of ranking Peter Dokl is Slovenia’s best male biathlete. The reasons for this are threefold. Firstly Jakov Fak is Croatian, secondly Klemen Bauer doesn’t follow me on Twitter and looks a little bit like a lion!(although the second point does not affect ranking!)and thirdly when Janez Maric represented biathlete 23 in the Oberhof Pursuit he was 48th and scored no points!! Conclusive evidence then! 😉

Coming from Slovenia’s biathlon capital, the small town of Ihan in the centre of the country, Peter Dokl has been doing biathlon since 1996. Born on the 11th of January 1985 in Ljubljana he took up the sport because he lived a very short distance from his local club SK Ihan, which is also the club of Klemen Bauer and Teja Gregorin, and decided to give it a try. These three grew up together and all now compete for Slovenia which makes it officially the biathlon capital of Slovenia. It also has the honour of having the largest pig farm in Slovenia. Beat that Pokljuka! 😉

Peter first came to the attention of the biathlon community in 2004 when he won a silver medal in the 20km Individual in The World Youth Championships in Haute Maurienee, France. At the same event he won a bronze medal in the relay along with Klemen Bauer. He also won bronze in the Junior European Championships in Minsk in the same year and silver the year after in Novosibirsk both in the relay team again with Bauer.

His best ever result on the senior circuit was an 11th place finish in the Individual in Antholz in the 2009/10 season. That was one of the four times he has achieved a TOP 40 finish, three of them coming in the Individual event and one in the Sprint. Last season was a bit of a disappointment in an individual sense as his best result came in the Sprint in Kontiolahti where he finished 69th and is probably the reason he was named in Slovenia’s B Team for the new season. However from a team point of view Slovenia had a great year especially for the Men’s Relay team who finished 6th in Sochi. A remarkable achievement for a small country but they have a good team in which Dokl is joined by Fak, Maric and Bauer.

It seems as though Peter and Klemen like to do a lot of things together. They grew up in the same street, did biathlon together, won medals together and taking it slightly to extremes got injured together! In 2008 they collided with a truck while mountain biking. Fortunately Peter suffered no major injuries but he was forced to miss the 2008 World Championships. Bauer broke his collarbone in the incident.

So what is ahead for Dokl next season? Well I am sure he would like to improve his individul results, get back into the A Team and the TOP 40 to score some World Cup points. His best chance at this will probably be in the 20km which seems to be his best event. The relay team are improving all the time and I am sure he would love to help his teammates onto the podium in the Men’s Relay which is definitely within their capabilities. Lastly and most importantly I am sure he will want to retain his biathlon 23 ranking as Slovenia’s best biath-Pete!

Follow Peter on Twitter @peterdokl

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Surprising Slovenia!

pokljuka

SLOVEnia is a LOVEly country. It has beautiful countryside, really nice people and one of my Top 3 desserts!(The amazing krema rezina of Bled is just behind cheesecake and pavlova!) It has also provided some really nice surprises in the biathlon competition this year.

Firstly in the Men’s Sprint on Thursday morning we saw Bjorn Ferry back on top of the podium after too long away from the top spots. He put in a great performance to beat Anton Shipulin and Arnd Peiffer. The real surprises came later in the day however in the Women’s Sprint. Austria’s Katherina Innerhofer shot clear and put in a great ski to win her first ever race and achieve her best result by miles. Her previous best finish was 22nd in the Ruhpolding Individual.In second place was the athlete who started second last in the race Daria Viloraynen of Russia who also got a career best finish in her first ever World Cup race. Nadezhda Skardina of Belarus took third making it her third appearance on the podium this season.

Beyond the ladies on the podium we saw personal bests for Finland’s Mari Laukkanen 9th, Norway’s Marte Olsbu 10th, Switzerland’s Irene Cadurisch 19th and Spain’s Victoria Padial 20th. It is so nice to see these girls doing so well. After all that excitement we moved on to the Pursuit races on Saturday.

The men started us off again and Anton Shipulin was sublime in his standing shoots to take the win.Bjorn Ferry came second and someone called Ole Einar Bjoerndalen came third. I have never heard of him before, have you? Ha ha of course you have and he celebrated his non-retirement by claiming yet another podium place. I certainly hope he can stay at this level until Oslo 2016 as I would hate to see his career fizzle out. Other displays of note came from Jakov Fak who went from 15th to 6th, Simon Eder 20th to 8th, Emil Svendsen 33rd to 20th and Simon Desthieux 52nd to 33rd.

For the women Kaisa Makarainen took the win followed by Tora Berger and a hugely impressive Dorothea Wierer in third. She has been having an amazing season and just seems to be getting better and better. Could she take a victory in the final races? I would love to see it but it’s not going to be easy. Great performances also came from most of the women who had a bad day at the office in the Sprint. Darya Domracheva moved from 28th to 4th, Andrea Henkel 25th to 6th,Selina Gasparin 33rd to 10th and Valj Semerenko 46th to 11th.

Finally on Sunday we had 2 Mass Starts which are always a great way to end the weekend. Bjorn Ferry shot clear and skied away from Martin Fourcade to win and Evgeny Ustyugov was impressive in third. Somewhat surprisingly Emil Svendsen missed a chance to get on the podium by missing in the final shoot. I hope this isn’t going to become a habit!!! Olympic champion Darya Domracheva won the women’s race in front of Makarainen and a quality race from Olga Zaitseva saw her fill the last spot on the podium.

So now it’s off to Finland and we start all over again on Thursday in Kontiolahti with a slightly strange program of 2 Sprints and a Pursuit. Pokljuka was as entertaining as ever and saw the return of wind to the range which we have been missing for a while. The racing was great and it is always good to see personal best performances and new people on the podium so all in all not only was it a lot of fun to watch but also quite surprising, Slovenia!

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JAKOV: THE FAKts

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FAKt 1: Unmissable in his yellow ski suit, Jakov Fak has become one of the most recognisable biathletes around and one of the most popular, which is a little surprising as he doesn’t come from one of the “big” biathlon nations.

FAKt 2: Jakov was born on 1 August 1987 in Rijeka, Croatia. He originally competed for Croatia but trained with the Slovenian team. With this system he won a bronze medal at the World Championships in 2009 and a bronze medal at the last Olympics in 2010.

FAKt 3: Later in 2010 he switched to compete for Slovenia. This brought more success in the form of a gold medal in the individual and a silver in the mixed relay at the 2012 World Championships in Ruhpolding. And this year he won the sprint in his home race in Pokljuka.

FAKt 4: Jakov is one of the faster skiers on the World Cup tour. He also has a pretty consistent shooting record both in the prone and stand positions. This is pretty impressive for someone who almost lost his trigger finger due to 3rd degree frostbite in 2011.

FAKt 5: Jakov finished the season 4th overall, a personal best, behind Fourcade, Svendsen and Landertinger. A significant progression from his 17th in the previous year. He was on the podium seven times including his sprint Bronze at the IBU World Championships.

2012/13 Selected Results:

1st SPRINT Pokljuka (SLO)
2ND MASS START Pokljuka (SLO)
1ST PURSUIT Hochfilzen (AUT)
3RD SPRINT Hochfilzen (AUT)
2ND PURSUIT Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
3RD SPRINT Antholz-Anterselva (ITA)
3RD SPRINT Nove Mesto (CZE)

So those are the fakts what about some opinion. As you can see from the results, Jakov has probably done best in the Sprint event. Considering the group of biathletes he is competing against that is no easy feat. For this reason I would give him a big chance of upgrading his Olympic sprint bronze to gold next year. I would love to see him challenge for the Chrystal globe in this event too. Let’s face it someone needs to wrestle a few of those globes from Fourcade and I reckon he is the man for the job in the sprint if not some of the other events too.

Also it can’t be easy to decide to represent another country . Although having little choice if he wanted to become more successful and continue competing, I would imagine that it is still not an easy decision to make. Hopefully this has provided him with a stronger mental attitude and the added motivation of making not just 1 but 2 nations proud.

He also seems like a nice guy as he regularly updates his Facebook page and comments on or likes the fans messages which not a lot of people do. And his performance in “The Spy who loved Biathlon” was hilarious and surely a role as a comic actor awaits him after he hangs up his skis!

So in conclusion, nice guy, comedian, fast skier, good shot and the support of two nations behind him, in short a great biathlete.

And that’s a fakt!


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