Another World Cup season in ski jumping for women is about to start on Friday with the mixed team competition in Lillehammer, Norway. This season, the ladies will jump in front of the Slovene audience no less than three times. The traditional competitions in Ljubno ob Savinji (on 25th and 26th January) will be joined by Planica, where ski jumpers will close the season on 22nd March. Under the leadership of the head coach Jože Berčič, the strong Slovene national team will also be preparing for the Olympics and the Youth World Championships.
The team – Ema Klinec, Maja Vtič, Eva Logar, Katja Požun, Urša Bogataj and Špela Rogelj – will travel to Lillehammer on Wednesday morning. Anja Tepeš will not accompany them this time. The girls are well-prepared for the new season and are eagerly awaiting the first competitions. At the press conference in BTC Ljubljana, due to an in-team bet, they only answered to questions by nodding their heads.
Rajko Pintar, President of the Ljubno ob Savinji Organizing Committee: “In the coming season, Ljubno ob Savinji will see already its third major ski jumping event, which would not be possible without BTC. BTC is a company that offers exceptional support to ski jumping, especially to women’s ski jumping. One must give it a lot of credit for raising the popularity of women’s ski jumping in Slovenia to such great heights and enabling our ladies’ team to vie for the top ski jumping spots in the world. Throughout all the years, BTC has invested a lot in the promotion of this young sport, which is also quickly advancing on the international level. BTC is a company that supports us in realizing our aims. This season, the girls will probably take off the existing ski jump in Ljubno for the last time, because we intend to extend it for about ten meters. After all, the ladies keep jumping farther as well. The Ljubno ski jump is among the smaller ones in the World Cup. We will install a new ski jump, with a slanted elevator and a new judges’ tower. We want to accomplish all this by the next event, which is already booked in the 2014/15 calendar. Once again, I would like to thank the Ski Association of Slovenia for all their support. I am sure that Ljubno will celebrate our girls’ victory. We are already providing the ski jumps with snow. We will definitely support our team to the best of our abilities to give our team and others the best possible conditions. ”
Jurij Žurej, PhD, the director of the Ski Association of Slovenia: “I would like to thank our host, the BTC Company. It is great to be here. Among us there is a representative of the Ljubno ob Savinji event organisers, who have already proven their skills in the past. The Ski Association of Slovenia firmly believes in this project. It is nice to see the girls who will surely achieve great success in this season.”
Jože Berčič, head coach: “The first competition will show the shape the girls are in. Those who have been training for a long time have acquired pretty good technical skills; the younger ones need some more time and practice. We trained on the well prepared ski jump in Planica, on snow. What the girls need now are a few more training jumps and competitions and we will meet our plans. It would be hard to predict anything at this point. If we manage to do our best jumps the results will follow. The first competition will offer first detailed overview of how well we trained. Season peaks are coming later on in the season; we have to proceed gradually to reach them at the right time. The team for Lillehammer includes Urša, Katja, Maja, Špela, Eva and Ema. Only Anja will remain in Slovenia, but not due to the lack of shape. She hasn’t been able to do enough jumps after the injury and the surgery, so we don’t want to burden her. Making a mistake in a stressful competition would be foolish. It’s all over then. Anja understands the situation perfectly, so she’ll be back competing in January. I have to thank everyone at the Ski Association of Slovenia for supporting our cause. Sometimes the girls feel there could be more to the support they are getting now, but personally I believe things don’t always run as smoothly as they should, especially in the time of crisis. We hope the results will speak volumes and represent our gratitude. Our goals for this season are to surpass the results of the previous one and to bring the girls to the level where they can show all their skills. I don’t want to talk numbers – before the start of the season, the girls and I agreed on keeping these numbers and precise goals private. Whenever we talk about numbers we set our own limitations and that keeps us from progressing. When we reach our goals, we can’t seem to go further.”
Ema Klinec: “Although it is my first World Cup competition, I am actually not that nervous. Having already made my debut at the Summer GP really helps.”