Volleyball team gets Order of Merit
Ljubljana, 9 June - The Slovenian men's volleyball team, the silver medallists from last year's European championship, received the Order of Merit from President Borut Pahor on Tuesday for their inspiring athletic achievements and for promoting Slovenia on the international stage.
Receiving the decoration at the ceremony in Presidential Palace on behalf of the silver-medal team was Tine Urnaut, who captained Slovenia during the heroic campaign at the 2019 European Championship.
After winning their first European silver in 2015, Slovenia had another excellent chance last year, as one of the preliminary stage groups and part of the elimination bracket were hosted in Stožice Arena in Ljubljana.
Slovenia cruised in the group stage, and later eliminated Bulgaria, Russia and Poland in the knock-out stage in the packed home arena to earn the finals against Serbia in Paris on 29 September, which they lost after winning the first set.
President Pahor said they "proved with unpretentiousness and kindness that friendship still exists in top sport" and that they "connected the country into a mass of supporters who breathed as one for more than two weeks."
Urnaut thanked the president for the decoration and all others for the "fairy tale we will always carry in our hearts."
The captain especially praised the Slovenian fans. "It was unforgettable to stand in the middle of Stožice and sing the national anthem together with 13,000 fans. It was almost impossible to use in such an atmosphere," he concluded.