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Manca Čujež: Kranj Competition at the Very Top of World Cup

Zlato Polje sports hall will be hosting the Sports Climbing World Cup once again. This competition in Kranj is very popular and well-known among climbers.

 

Manca Čujež, Public Relations Representative of the Alpine Association of Slovenia, shared with us what it was that made the capital of the Gorenjska region a top global destination for sports climbing. She told us about the atmosphere created each year by fans of this sport who will certainly sing along to Zdravljica, our anthem and a toast to the friendship between nations. On 11 and 12 November, it will be the 22nd time in a row that Kranj will host the final competition of the Sports Climbing World Cup.


How did Kranj arrive at the very top of sports climbing world competitions?

If you would like to take a quick look at how the World Cup competitions in Slovenia evolved, you could start with 1988. That’s when the first competition of this kind took place at Osp (still on natural rock face). 1990 was then an important turning point for Wold Cup competitions and Kranj, with the first international master competition taking place here. It was in cooperation with Tomo Česen that the Kranj Sports Federation of that time invited best climbers from all over the world to compete with each other in this town. After some master competitions, our next goal was of course clear – to host a World Cup competition. The new sports hall in Zlato Polje was equipped with a climbing wall and this made it possible for us to organize such events. In the autumn of 1996, the first World Cup in Kranj featured 152 contestants from 24 countries. Today we can proudly say that the Kranj competition has one of the best organized programmes for a World Cup. This was confirmed by several comments in international, as well as national media. There is no other town that would host so many World Cup competitions as Kranj does. Traditionally, it can compete only with the two biggest master competitions in the world – Serre Chevalier and Arco. Slovenia is also the first and only country that has complete live television coverage of the final competitions.


How many teams from abroad will be participating at this year’s World Cup and how do they feel about competing in Kranj?

We are so proud when climbers from abroad say that for them, coming to Kranj is always something special. The application procedure still hasn’t been concluded, so we do not know exactly how many contestants and teams will be coming from abroad. But we do expect a similar turnout as last year when there were more than 120 contestants from 23 countries. The final World Cup round of Kranj is considered to be one of those that are organized in the best possible way and are most popular among contestants. By organizing this event, the Alpine Association of Slovenia found its place among larger sports associations also in the field of competitive sports and this gives it – and also the town of Kranj – a better visibility and reputation in Slovenia, as well as abroad.

 

Slovenian sports climbers have become a lasting presence among world class climbers. Can the audience expect them to celebrate another victory in Kranj?

We will certainly be able to hear the Slovenian anthem Zdravljica in the Zlato Polje sports hall, since the Kranj competition will be the last one of the season and Janja Garnbret already gained the points to win the World Cup in lead climbing and in the combined score of three disciplines. There's also Mina Markovič, four-time winner of the Kranj competition, 2017 European vice-champion in lead climbing and three-time World Cup winner according to her total points for each year. She also holds the record in the number of competitions she attended in Kranj, since this will be the 14th time for her. Last year, the Slovenian anthem was played also for Domen Škofic, 2016 World Cup winner in lead climbing, and he has already won some competition this year as well. There will be also a national competition that will feature a large number of Slovenian climbers and maybe one or the other will have a pleasant surprise for us. But all the contestants will be happy to enjoy the support of the audience.

 

The fans of sports climbing always make sure that there is a fantastic atmosphere Zlato Polje sports hall. How much does such a climate contribute to the success of Slovenian climbers and the event as a whole?

Passionate fans are the ones who give the Kranj competition its special character. Each year, the sports hall is completely sold out and the supporters strongly and loudly encourage each contestant. Slovenian climbers can grow wings with such lively cheering and they can accomplish more this way. The climbers like to point out that the support of the home crowd means a lot to them.

Get your tickets for the Sports Climbing World Cup HERE.


What would you like to say to the people who still haven’t decided if they will go to see the Sports Climbing World Cup on 11 and 12 November?

In addition to it being a true spectacle that should not be missed, it will also have a rich programme of accompanying activities, including creative workshops for children, mini Olympics with Foksi and projections of films from the archives of the Mountain Film Festival, Festival gorniškega filma. In order to warm you up before the big finals, the Czech climber Adam Ondra will hold a lecture on 9 November. He is the best climber in the world at the moment and this year has raised the bar for rock-climbing difficulty yet again with the world's first 9c category climb. He is well-known among the audience in Kranj, where he won the competition three times already. I also have to point out that the success of Slovenian climbers, who for a number of years now have been part of top achievements in the world, is a result of good and continuous work and planning by their teams, trainers and colleagues, their passionate commitment and efforts, so they all deserve a strong support of their home crowd. So once again, you are warmly invited to join us!