„I am comfortable with the role of team leader!“
TUESDAY TALK: Marjan Jelenko (SLO)
With two seasons of struggles and a hard battle for progress behind him, Slovenian top performer Marjan Jelenko has found a new confidence. The 24-year-old is now the focal point of a really young, new team in Slovenia while working to return to his old strength on the jumping hill. For TUESDAY TALK, he sheds some light on his young teammates, his own progress and his highlights for the upcoming season.
You had a first national competition on the past weekend which you won dominantly. Are you satisfied with your performance?
Marjan Jelenko: Yes, I was waiting for my first competition this year because we have made some changes in training process. So it was nice to have a competition to test how everything is working out and I can say that I found a lot of things to improve this summer. I will work a lot on technique in both disciplines, maybe a little more on the cross-country side.
So what exactly are you working on right now?
Jelenko: Right now, we are doing a lot of aerobic trainings and a little less jumping. We will have some cross-country training camps in Rogla, we are more focused on stamina. We are also doing a lot of other sports to keep things interesting and keep more focus when we have roller-ski training.
Especially the ski jumping part and your weight has been a problem in the past. How satisfied are you with your jumping at the moment?
Jelenko: The weight issue is still the most important thing in my jumping performance. We are still working and thinking really hard about how will I get rid of the extra muscle mass that I gained in previous seasons. But overall, my jumping is improving every week and I am really optimistic about that.
The Slovenian team is a young one with you as the main focus of attention. Do you feel comfortable with the role of the team leader?
Jelenko: It is a completely new team this year. There are a lot of youngsters who work really hard. I was really surprised about how well we connected as a team. For now, I am comfortable with the role of a team leader because I can teach the young guys a lot but also I can learn something from them: What is the best computer game and what is cool to wear these days! (laughs)
But back to speaking seriously: to help with teaching this really young team, we have one new coach, Jan Družina, who is working with Igor Jelen and also Robert Slabanja is new with us for the cross-county part.
So, as an expert, which of your young teammates do we have to keep an eye on for the next season?
Jelenko: Well, Jaka Marko was second this weekend so there is an indicator that he is doing well. Vid Vrhovnik has a gold medal from YOG with the team, he is also a promising young athlete. And others will improve a lot. I hope some of guys I didn’t mention will surprise me! (laughs)
How does your schedule look like from now on? Will we see you at the Summer Grand Prix this year?
Jelenko: As I mentioned earlier, we are going to have some cross-country training camps. In second part of July, we will go to Ramsau for some ski jumping days and of course we have the perfect setup in Planica so we will spend a lot of time there. Maybe even some summer skiing in the tunnel in Planica. After that, it’s of course time for the Summer Grand Prix to see what we have to work on till winter.
What are you looking forward to most in the calendar of next winter?
Jelenko: For sure, my main focus are the World Championship in Lahti. I really want to be in the best possible shape there. But my favourite event is the Nordic Combined TRIPLE, so that will be the weekend that I am looking forward to most. This year, we have a really nice calendar with Korea and Japan and lot of other competitions, so it should be a very interesting season both for athletes and spectators.