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Garnbret, Pogačar and footballers declared athletes of the year in Slovenia

LJUBLJANA, January 3, 2023 – Sport climber Janja Garnbret, cyclist Tadej Pogačar and the men’s national football team have been declared Athletes of the Year for 2023, an accolade given out by the Slovenian Sports Journalists’ Association.

FEMALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Garnbret scored 336 points, significantly ahead of the second-placed pole vaulter Tina Šutej, the silver medallist from this year’s European Indoor Championships, who got 107 points. A total of 121 sports journalists elected the winners.

This year, the 24-year-old Garnbret bagged her eighth world championship gold medal and qualified for the Olympic Games in Paris, where she will defend her title.


MALE ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Pogačar, a UAE Team Emirates rider who was second in this year’s Tour de France and third in the road race at the 2023 UCI Road World Championships, received 267 points, followed by another star cyclist, Primož Roglič (166).

The 25-year-old Pogačar again proved that he is the most versatile cyclist in the world, excelling both in monument and multi-stage races. He also donned the white Tour de France jersey of the best young rider for the fourth time in a row, the journalists said, noting that he continues to top the UCI World Ranking.

TEAM OF THE YEAR When it came to team sports, the first and the second-ranked teams were only three votes apart. The men’s football team (44), which this year qualified for its first Euro since 2000, pulled ahead of the men’s volleyball team in the end.

Having matured under the guidance of the cool-headed and shrewd head coach Matjaž Kek, the footballers showed best defence and offence in Group H of the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers, the award panel said.

UP-AND-COMING The award for the best up-and-coming athlete went to footballer Benjamin Šeško, a forward who currently plays for the Bundesliga club RB Leipzig. It has been rumoured that Arsenal would like to sign the young star.

At the age of 18 and one day, he became the youngest ever debutant in the national team in 2021 and later the team’s youngest ever scorer. Having netted five goals, Šeško was Slovenia’s top scorer in the Euro 2024 qualifiers.

FAIR PLAY AWARD The fair play award went to ski jumper Anže Lanišek, and members of the national women’s sitting volleyball team were declared the best athletes with disabilities.

Last year, the recipients of the main accolades were ski jumper Urša Bogataj, discus thrower Kristjan Čeh and the mixed ski-jumping team.

(source STA) – AIPS Press


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