Slovenia has a long and proud tradition of judo, with some of the best judo players in the world hailing from the country.
Over the years, Slovenian judokas have achieved a great deal of success in international competitions, collecting dozens of medals at the Olympic Games, World Championships and European Championships.
We’ll take a look at some of the best judo players in Slovenia, and their remarkable achievements in the sport.
1. Maruša Štangar
Maruša Štangar is a Slovenian judoka who has achieved impressive success at a number of international competitions. At the 2019 European Games in Minsk, Belarus, Štangar demonstrated her judo prowess by winning a bronze medal in the women’s 48 kg event.
Her impressive performance in this competition is only one example of her skill and dedication to the sport. In addition to her success at the European Games, Štangar has also competed in several editions of the World Judo Championships.
Her achievements in this highly competitive environment serve as a testament to her ability as a judoka. Her dedication and hard work have allowed her to excel at the highest level of the sport and have earned her recognition from her peers and fans alike.
Maruša Štangar is an exemplary athlete who serves as an inspiration to aspiring judokas around the world. Her commitment to the sport and her outstanding results demonstrate that hard work and dedication can produce great success.
She is a testament to the power of dedication and commitment to achieving one’s goals.
2. Franc Očko
Franc Očko is a Slovenian judoka, a practitioner of the sport of judo, who represented Yugoslavia in the 1980 and 1984 Summer Olympics.
He is a highly accomplished judoka, having won numerous national and international competitions throughout his career. At the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, Očko competed in the lightweight division, ultimately finishing in 11th place.
He then went on to compete in the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, where he came in 4th place in the lightweight division. Očko’s achievements have earned him recognition in his native Slovenia, where he is seen as a national hero.
He has been awarded several honorary titles, including “Honored Sportsman of Yugoslavia” in 1982 and “Honored Sportsman of Slovenia” in 2000.
He has also been inducted into the Slovenian Sports Hall of Fame. In addition to his Olympic achievements, Očko is also a successful coach and referee.
He was a coach for the Slovenian national judo team from 1984 to 1993 and a referee for the European Judo Championships in 2001.
His continued involvement in the sport shows his dedication to judo and his commitment to helping others reach their goals. Franc Očko is a true inspiration to judoka around the world and a testament to the strength of the human spirit.
Through his hard work and dedication, he has achieved great success and become an integral part of the Slovenian sporting community.
3. Andreja Leški
Andreja Leški is a Slovenian judoka who has achieved great success in the sport. In 2021, she won a silver medal in the women’s 63 kg event at the World Judo Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
This marked a huge achievement, as she had previously competed at the World Judo Championships in 2017 and 2018. Her success in 2021 is a testament to her hard work and dedication to the sport.
She is an inspiration to many, and her perseverance and determination are what have earned her the success she now enjoys.
4. Lucija Polavder
Lucija Polavder is a Slovene judoka, who has competed in two Olympic Games. At the 2004 Summer Olympics, she competed in the judo event but failed to progress beyond the first round. However, at the 2008 Summer Olympics, she managed to advance to the semifinals.
In the semifinals, she lost to Japanese judoka Maki Tsukada. This was a remarkable achievement, as it was the first time a Slovene judoka had reached the semifinals of an Olympic event.
Polavder has since gone on to become one of Slovenia’s most successful judokas, winning numerous medals at both international and national competitions.
She is also an inspiration to many young judokas in Slovenia, showing them that with hard work and dedication, anything can be achieved.
5. Raša Sraka
Raša Sraka Vuković is a Slovenian judoka who represented her country in the 2012 Summer Olympics. She was entered in the 70 kg event but unfortunately was unable to advance beyond the quarterfinals.
Her opponent in the quarterfinals was South Korean judoka, Hwang Ye-sul, who was able to outscore Raša Sraka Vuković and win the match.
Despite this, Raša Sraka Vuković was given a second chance in the repechage, however, she was once again defeated by Colombian judoka, Yuri Alvear. Raša Sraka Vuković’s Olympic experience was ultimately unsuccessful, as she was unable to make it past the quarterfinals.
6. Anamari Velenšek
Anamari “Ana” Velenšek is a Slovenian judoka who has had great success in the sport. She has earned a number of medals at the World and European Championships between 2011 and 2015, including a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games.
In 2015, she was awarded a silver medal for her performance at the World Championships. Her achievements demonstrate her dedication and hard work, and her success as a judoka is a great inspiration to others.
In addition to her success in the sport, she has also shown great determination and resilience throughout her career, which has helped her to reach the highest levels of judo. She is a great example of what can be achieved through hard work and dedication.
7. Rok Drakšič
Rok Drakšič is a Slovenian judoka, a martial artist specializing in the Japanese martial art of judo. At the 2008 Summer Olympics, he competed in the extra-lightweight category, where he faced off against Masoud Akhondzadeh from Iran.
Unfortunately, he was unable to pull off the win and lost his first match. Four years later, at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Drakšič had another shot at Olympic glory. This time, he competed in the half-lightweight category, although the result was the same as before.
In spite of putting up a good fight, Drakšič was once again unable to claim the victory and had to accept defeat.
8. Urška Žolnir
Urška Žolnir is an accomplished Slovenian politician and retired judoka. She has achieved tremendous success in her sport, being the most successful judoka in the history of Slovenia.Žolnir is a member of Judo Club Sankaku Celje, a judo club located in Celje, Slovenia.
She has won a bronze medal in the half-middleweight division at the 2004 Summer Olympics and a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in the same division.
This makes her the most successful Slovenian judoka of all time, an impressive feat that she has achieved through dedication and hard work throughout her career.On top of her incredible success in judo, Žolnir is also a well-respected politician.
She has served as a Member of the National Assembly of Slovenia since 2018 and has been a member of the Slovenian Democratic Party since 2015.
In 2020, she was named the Minister of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport in the Janez Janša government, marking the first time a female judoka had been appointed to a top ministerial post.Žolnir’s achievements in both judo and politics are remarkable and she is an inspiration to many in her home country of Slovenia.
Her hard work and dedication have made her the most successful Slovenian judoka of all time and have enabled her to make a positive impact in the political arena as well. Her story is a testament to the power of perseverance and determination.
9. Tina Trstenjak
Tina Trstenjak is a Slovenian judoka who had an incredibly successful career. She won gold in the Women’s 63 kg at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and followed that up with a silver medal in the same category at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Tina is now retired, but she will always be remembered for her incredible achievements. Throughout her career, Tina was an unstoppable force in the judo arena. She trained hard and was determined to succeed.
She was able to overcome any obstacles in her path and persevere to the top. Her success at the 2016 Olympics was a result of her hard work and dedication.
She subsequently earned the silver medal in the Women’s Judo 63 kg category at the 2020 Olympics, proving that she was a formidable athlete. Tina’s accomplishments are a testament to her amazing skills and determination.
She is a true inspiration and an example of what can be achieved through hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Her legacy will live on, and she will continue to be remembered for her outstanding achievements.
Slovenia has some of the best judo players in the world. From Olympic and World Championship medallists to European and World Cup champions, the depth of talent in Slovenia is undeniable.
With a strong national judo team and a growing number of successful international judo athletes, Slovenia is continuing to build its reputation as a powerhouse in the sport of judo.
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