Ursa Bogataj’s break with ski jumping lasted seven months. On July 23, the Slovenian athlete resumed training after a serious knee injury. During the camp in Planica, the 25-year-old athlete was exercising with teammates. The Slovenian team is hoping for a successful 2020-2021 season. At the same time, Spela Rogelj made an important decision about her future.
Last time Ursa Bogaraj participated in the international competition at the begining of December 2019, when she started in FIS World Cup in Klingenthal. Not much later, she suffered a break of the anterior cruciate ligament after training in her homeland. She also injured her meniscus. After the surgery, the athlete started a several-month rehabilitation process. Now, three weeks before the inauguration of FIS Grand Prix 2020, she sat on the starting gate for the first time this year. It took place at a medium hill in Planica.
Last winter, Nika Kriznar and Ema Klinec were the strength of Slovenian team during the absence of Bogataj. The first one had a dangerous collision with a sponsor banner surronding the landing area in Lillehammer at the end of season. The another one knows Bogataj’s feelings very well. In December 2018, Klinec suffered a similar injury, also at Bloudkova Velikanka in Planica. She resumed training in July too. “First jumps after the injury were amazing, but later the rest of athletes had much better results. I missed a high level of repeatability, the pace was fast and I didn’t have much time to stabilize the form”, Klinec mentioned in an interview for Siol.net. The 22-year-old had the best results in December, but later she reached worse results due to training backlogs. Finally, Kriznar and Klinec took 7th and 8th place in the FIS World Cup overall standings.
The main goal of Slovenian team for the next season will be to repay to their rivals for the failure at FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Seefeld. Athletes of this country returned to their homeland without medals. “During spring we focused on hard work. Last year the entry into the training period looked calmer, but in upcoming winter we have more challenges, so the athletes have to improve their condition”, the coach Zoran Zupancic said to Sloski.si. “I believe that the championships will be very pleasant for us”, Klinec added. “We have always been known as a strong team. We fuel each other towards winter”, Zupancic states.
At this stage of the summer, the coach complements experienced Spela Rogelj, for whom it will be the 10th World Cup season in her career. “I have to praise her for the new approach to ski jumping. She has implemented changes in many territories, including dietetics. You can see that she is more relaxed now. She exercises with a greater smile”, he says about the 25-year-old athlete. Zupancic sends also the words of encouragement towards younger ski jumpers. “Jerneja Brecl and Katra Komar are better than last year at this time, while Ema Klinec and Nika Kriznar still have some form hesitations”, the team leader reveals.
At the same time, Rogelj announced in an interview with Siol.net, that the next two seasons will be her farewell. The Olympic Winter Games in Beijing are supposed to be the final destination in the career of the former World Cup leader. “I didn’t stop training after my return from Norway in March. I realised that upcoming two seasons will be my last, so I am doing my best. Now I feel more relaxed and I don’t think about results.”
In 2023, Planica will host the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Did the Slovenian definitely resign from participating in this event? “I’m young, but there are also other things in life than ski jumping. I leave the door open for myself, but I would have to jump really well”, emphasizes the winner of the inaugural competition of FIS World Cup 2014-2015. In the following years, she had problems with her back, which prevented her from being optimally prepared for the months of rivalry.
The first international test for Slovenian team in the age of COVID-19 pandemic will be FIS Grand Prix competition in Frenstat (Czech Republic). The event is scheduled for August 14-15.