Jelenc recognised for outstanding commitment to inclusive canoeing

The prestigious trophy of the International Olympic Committee Sport Beyond Borders was this year awarded to Andrej Jelenc, member of the European Canoe Association Board of Directors and director of the Canoe Federation of Slovenia.

He received this award for his initiative, work and role in the integration of various groups into canoeing programmes in Slovenia. Jelenc is a member of the Slovenian Sports Hall of Fame for his sporting achievements, crowned in 1989 with the World Champion title in wildwater canoeing. He was the initiator of the paracanoeing programme in Slovenia.

For several years he has been the main organiser of the charity canoeing event in Ljubljana for many years, the 24 hours paddling for a good cause. This event is held on the Ljubljanica River in the city centre of Ljubljana over a full day and night. People can join and paddle as much as they can and want in this time period. Part of the income from the entry fees and sponsorship goes to charity.

Jelenc played an important role in establishing the recreational and rehabilitation canoeing programme and cooperation with Europa Donna, an association for the fight against breast cancer. His activities also include the cooperation with charity society Hiša sonca and Training, Education and Care Centre Dolfke Boštjančič’, which is an institution for education, training, work, health care and rehabilitation of children, adolescents and adults with moderate, severe and profound intellectual disabilities and additional impairments.

He helps organise canoeing trips for members of the centre and some of the members of the centre have been included in other canoeing activities. This year they have been involved with catering and protocol activities of the ECA Canoe Slalom European Championships in Ljubljana.

I am convinced that sport is more than just striving for top results and a way of spending time in a healthy way," Jelenc said.

"The fact that sport programmes include disabled people, socially weaker groups or other groups that are not included in regular sports programmes can really make a difference and life fuller. The programmes we are running with the cooperation of Canoe Federation of Slovenia and Canoe Club Ljubljana show that sport can be an important part of social inclusion.

"We are not the only ones though. Every year, a series of sporting events with humanitarian content take place in Slovenia, so I am pleased that through sport programmes we can help many. I wish that this trophy will give all of us in canoeing the impetus to upgrade the programmes to a higher level,said Jelenc.

The International Canoe Federation and its extended family congratulate Andrej for his outstanding work and thoroughly endorse the IOC's decision to recognise his commitment and unwavering enthusiasm. 

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