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Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games: Two medals for Slovenia

Brnik, 6 September - The Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which ended on Sunday night with a ceremony at the Olympic Stadium, were generally a success for the Slovenian Paralympic team. Shooter Franček Gorazd Tiršek won a silver and a bronze medal, while the younger members of the team gained valuable experience.

Brnik
Shooter Franček Gorazd Tiršek returns from the Tokyo Paralympics with two medals, pictured on Sunday evening as the team landed at Ljubljana's airport.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Brnik
Shooter Franček Gorazd Tiršek returns from the Tokyo Paralympics with two medals, pictured on Sunday evening as the team landed at Ljubljana's airport.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Brnik
Shooter Franček Gorazd Tiršek returns from the Tokyo Paralympics with two medals, pictured on Sunday evening as the team landed at Ljubljana's airport.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Brnik
Fans greeting the Slovenian team at the Tokyo Paralympics, which landed at Ljubljana's airport on Sunday evening.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Brnik
Fans greeting the Slovenian team at the Tokyo Paralympics, which landed at Ljubljana's airport on Sunday evening.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

Brnik
Fans greeting the Slovenian team at the Tokyo Paralympics, which landed at Ljubljana's airport on Sunday evening.
Photo: Tinkara Zupan/STA

The Slovenian Paralympic team did not go to Japan with high expectations, aware that almost half of the team consisted of young and inexperienced athletes.

For them, this year's Tokyo Paralympic Games were mainly about gaining experience. The next games will take place in three years' time due to the postponement of both the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020 and they will be able to take on leading roles in the team.

In terms of results, Slovenia's best performer in Tokyo was shooter Franček Gorazd Tiršek with a second, third and 24th place. Meanwhile, the other member of the shooting team, France Pinter, came in tenth and 42nd.

The other members of the Slovenian team were cyclist Anej Doplihar (9th and 13th), athlete Henrik Plank (7th), swimmer Tim Žnidaršič Svenšek (two times 16th), archer Dejan Fabčič, who reached the elimination round, and table-tennis player Luka Trtnik, who was eliminated in the group preliminaries.

"It is always a wonderful feeling when we return from competitions, especially coming back home from the biggest competition in the world with a medal," said Tiršek upon his arrival in Slovenia.

Qualifying for the Paralympic Games is often considered to be a very good achievement in itself, as the number of athletes is smaller than in the Olympics, the national quotas are limited and the standards for Paralympic qualification are very demanding.

"I would rate the organisation with 10 out of 10, as the Japanese have taken very good care of security. It was amazing to compete at these Games, I have got more motivation for the future and have already set my goals higher for Paris," Žnidaršič Svenšek said about his first Paralympic experience.

Slovenia's team leader Boro Štrumbelj also stressed that the incentive aspect of the Games is as important as the competitive aspect. A major event like the Paralympic Games can be an incentive for all people with disabilities who are still hesitant to engage in sports.

The Slovenian Sports Federation for the Disabled wants to use the impact of the Games to attract as many young people as possible to engage in sports and perhaps experience the competitive side of the Paralympic Games themselves.

The president of the Federation, Damijan Lazar, said that they were very pleased: "The experienced competitors achieved solid results, while the younger athletes made their debuts and foreshadowed their development and future with good performances."

The Slovenian Sports Federation for the Disabled will host a reception for all Paralympians on Wednesday in Ljubljana. They will summarise their impressions of the just concluded Summer Paralympics and also announce the Winter Games, which will take place next year in Beijing.

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© STA, 2021