Judo association receives state decoration as it turns 70

Ljubljana, 29 October - President Borut Pahor honoured judoka Tina Trstenjak and the Slovenian Judo Association with state decorations as the association celebrated the 70th anniversary in Ljubljana on Friday. The Golden Order of Merit will also be given to judoka Urška Žolnir Jugovar, but she will receive it next month as she is currently not in Slovenia.

President Borut Pahor (right) decorating judoka Tina Trstenjak with the Golden Order of Merit at a ceremony at GH Union.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

Lovrencij Galuf, president of the Slovenian Judo Association, accepting the Order of Merit, with which President Borut Pahor (right) decorated the association at a ceremony at GH Union.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA

The association received the Order of Merit for outstanding contribution to the development of judo and the great international successes of Slovenian judo athletes.

Its president Lovrencij Galuf thanked the president by saying: "I humbly accept the award and promise it is a commitment for our work in the future".

Trstenjak, 32, received the Golden Order of Merit for outstanding sporting achievements, and for promoting Slovenia in the international sport arena and inspiring people.

Proud to be decorated by the state, Trstenjak thanked the president saying it really meant a lot to her.

She also thanked her parents for their unrelenting support and her coach Marjan Fabjan, "with whom we have achieved everything there was to achieve".

Fabjan meanwhile received the Order of Merit in March when Pahor decorated several sports coaches. Under his guide, women judokas have won six Olympic medals.

Trstenjak last competed at the Tokyo Olympics last year, where she won silver in the 63kg category, and gold at the Rio de Janeiro Games.

She is also the 2015 world champion and has won another three medals at World Championships, one silver and two bronze ones. She has seven medals from European Championships, including three golds.

The Slovenian Judo Association was formed seven decades ago on World Judo Day, 28 October. The mark the anniversary, it published a special publication to highlight its history and achievements, including the first major milestone in 2004 when Žolnir Jugovar won the first Olympic medal for Slovenia, bronze.

The first Slovenian to win a medal in European Championships was meanwhile Stanko Topolčnik (1947-2013) in 1969 in Ostende, when he competed for Yugoslavia.

In the 1960s and 1970s, he was Yugoslav champion eleven times, heralding the recent major successes of Slovenian judokas.

The association and the European Judo Union have given out a number of awards to deserving athletes and coaches at last evening's ceremony.

© STA, 2022