Long-awaited gymnastics centre opens in Ljubljana
Ljubljana, 27 November - The long-awaited national gymnastics centre opened in Ljubljana on Friday, on the 10th anniversary of Slovenian gymnasts Mitja Petkovšek and Aljaž Pegan winning gold medals at the World Championships in Melbourne.
Slovenian gymnasts had been awaiting a specialised centre since 1970, when the most successful Slovenian athlete Miro Cerar ended his career with the world champion title in Ljubljana's Tivoli Arena.
Another promise from sports officials to build a gymnastics centre came in 2005, when Petkovšek won gold on parallel bars and Pegan won gold on horizontal bar at the world championships.
The new facility, located in the Vič borough, was symbolically opened today on the 10th anniversary of this great achievement for Slovenian gymnastics.
The ceremony was addressed by Education, Science and Sport Minister Maja Makovec Brenčič, Mayor of Ljubljana Zoran Janković, Gymnastics Association boss Ivan Levak, as well as national gymnastic legends Cerar, Pegan and Petkovšek.
Petkovšek, who has recently retired from professional competition, said: "I can withdraw now. I have pulled the project to his point, now my work is done. I only want to help the younger generations achieve good results."
Pegan regretted that the centre was not opened earlier, he said that gymnasts were nevertheless happy. "I hope that the thing will function as planned. The conditions are superb. There will be no excuses. Now you only have to work hard."
The centre is worth around EUR 12m, with the bulk of the funds being secured by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. The project was co-funded by the Ljubljana municipality and the national Sport Foundation.
The centre had been planned to be named after Cerar, Pegan and Petkovšek, but the Ljubljana municipality, which owns the building, renamed it the Ljubljana Gymnastics Centre.
The centre features a venue for artistic gymnastics and a venue for rhythmic gymnastics. The latter can also be adjusted for other competitions, for example volleyball or basketball.