Deni KOŽUL wins two national titles, Manca FAJMUT reaches a new stepping stone
Slovenian National Championships
The first spring Sunday saw the 25th Slovenian national championships for seniors in Radlje Ob Dravi, organized by the Muta table tennis club in the far North (-East) of Slovenia.
Last year’s men’s winner and Slovenia’s most prominent player, Bojan TOKIĆ, did not attend this year, making the competition even more dramatic and interesting. All the favourites made it to the quarter-finals, the one positive surprise was the young Peter HRIBAR, who took advantage of a favourable draw. In close duels, Jan ŽIBRAT then won against the 2014 champion Uroš SLATINŠEK, and the three-time (2008-2010) victor Mitja HORVAT against Ludvik PERŠOLJA. The semi-final involving ŽIBRAT and HORVAT was quickly over with 4:0 and Žibrat reached the final. The other semi-final featured last-year’s junior European champions in doubles: Darko JORGIĆ and Deni KOŽUL. The top seeded JORGIĆ started better, but was defeated in a thrilling match by 2:4. It took Deni KOŽUL seven games in the final, but in the end he managed to secure his first national championships title, proving he is a force to be reckoned with in the future.
The women’s competition was slightly weakened this year due to the absence of two national team members, Alex GALIČ and Tamara PAVČNIK. Ana TOFANT and Alexandra VOVK took best advantage of their opportunities for advancement and reached semi-finals and bronze medals. TOFANT was defeated by Manca FAJMUT in six games and VOVK played a close six-game (the last one ending in 19:21!) match against Zala VERONIK. In the final, FAJMUT secured her victory by 4:1, becoming the first woman since Slovenia’s independence with four consecutive titles.
The singles finalists ŽIBRAT and KOŽUL also won the men’s doubles title. They won against Dominik ŠKRABAN-Tomaž PELCAR in the semi-final (the other bronze went to Peter HRIBAR-Tilen CVETKO) and beat Mitja HORVAT-Bojan REPOŠA in the final match, thus securing KOŽUL’S double crown.
Women’s double title went to the VERONIK twins, Zala and Niika, representing the championships hosting club. They managed to beat TOFANT-VOVK by 3:1 in the semi-final (the second bronze went to Melita VERHNJAK and Vesna ROJKO) and won against the surprising finalist double of Kristina RAHOTIN-Lea PAULIN by 3:0.
The mixed-doubles title went to Uroš SLATINŠEK-Manca FAJMUT. This was the second such victory for both of them, but for the first time they won the title together. They won against Bojan REPOŠA-Nika VERONIK in the final, while the bronze medals went to the Matic SLODEJ-Ivana ZERA and Andraž NOVAK-Lara OPEKA.