International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach visited the famous canoe slalom course in Ljubljana, Tacen, yesterday and praised the international success of Slovenian athletes.

The slalom course hosted European Championships in 2005 and 2017 as well as three world championships. President Bach was in Ljubljana and took time to visit the Slovenian national canoe slalom centre and talk to the athletes. He also met Olympic candidates from different sports who came to Tacen to meet the president.

“Slovenia is a small country, both by area and by population, but is a giant in international sports, a phenomenon in winter and summers sports, in individual and team sports. I am sure you athletes feel the support of the whole nation,” he said to the athletes in his speech.

Among the athletes who met Mr. Bach were Slovenian slalomists, who just returned from a very successful European Championships in Prague at the weekend. They won two gold medals and two silver medals, which earned them a special congratulation from the IOC president.

During the meeting with sportsmen and sportswomen the question of the Tokyo Olympics popped up.

“We are not exactly sure yet, how the Games will be organised," Mr Bach told them.

"Only with safety measures, quarantine ... It is hard to say something regarding the spectators too. But the Games will definitely be held. The Games are the light at the end of the tunnel. Scientists know much more about the virus now.

"Besides that we all know what the safety measures are. Washing hands, social distance, masks ... Soon speedy tests will be available and will give a results 20 minutes after testing. The important element which is optimism about the vaccine.

“I’d like to invite you to the plane to Tokyo, but I will travel there ahead of you. I need to prepare a red carpet for you. The last weeks have shown that despite the coronavirus problems international sporting events can be organised. Even Tour de France, which is logistically challenging.

"We have followed the Champions League final, US open in tennis and golf, canoe slalom European championships ... With right restrictions the system works. We are preparing for different scenarios. We are also gathering experience of the organisers of the last competitions. We are in constant touch with WHO. But we will adapt to the situation in 10 months. It is important we ensure a fair training and qualification period.”

Nina Jelenc

IOC President Thomas Bach Slovenia Tacen slalom

Canoe Slalom
Kayak Cross