Lots of changes for the Nordic Combined athletes from Slovenia around team leader Marjan Jelenko: Not only did former Austrian B-team member Tomaz Druml reinforce the Slovenian team after a change of nationality, also a new head coach in form of former athlete Mitja Oranic joined the team.
“This year, we’ve made many changes. The team I run now was formed out of four different teams and we also got Tomaz Druml from the Austrian national team. Marjan Jelenko remains the team’s number one but there are also three juniors, who train with our experienced athletes and three youngsters from the younger age groups. In total, the team has eight members now.”, Oranic explained on sloski.com.
The team consists of:
- Marjan Jelenko
- Tomaz Druml
- Leon Sarc
- Vid Vrhovnik
- Matevz Malorvh
- Rok Jelen
- Ozbej Jelen
- Nik Knaus
Oranic will have to face tough challenges, as the team members did not perform on the highest level for the past couple of years.
The head coach continued: “We currently do not have a quota for the Olympic Games. We have one international start place which is not nominal. Of course, the goal is to bring our team to the Olympics. Here, I am thinking that two, or even three of our boys have to present themselves in the best light. Among our short-term goals is a good performance at our “home” Summer Grand Prix in Planica at the end of September. We hope to have a visible result there.”
Team leader Marjan Jelenko is happy about the current setup of the team and his work so far. So far, he has focussed on slow-motion basics and only returned to the jumping hill in the last week and is now trying to get the feeling of his top jumps back.
Tomaz Druml joins the team
Marjan Jelenko: “I am very happy that Tomaz Druml came to our team. Even though this is an individual sport, I think he will help us a lot as we have four team events in the upcoming winter. His arrival also makes me feel a little relieved because now it’s not only about me any more. He also brings additional knowledge from one of the top teams on the World Cup with a very developed system. He works at a very high level but he can also learn from me regarding the jumps.”.
But also Druml does already feel very well set up in his new team: “The team accepted me very easily. I knew all of them before, as well as our coach Mitja Oranic. We quickly “found” ourselves, we share views and visions and I think it will be very good. My motivation is 110% and I am very thankful that I can continue my career in this unique sport.”
Asked about his new teammates, Druml continued: “Marjan is a very good jumper, one of the best in the World Cup, which he has already proven. The whole team can take him as a guideline in regards to this. On the other hand, I think I can improve a lot and in my opinion, I have the potential to be one of the fastest competitors on the track. I have a lot of experience working with different coaches and can help transfer this to the younger athletes as well.”
One thing the whole team has in common is the anticipation to the “home” Summer Grand Prix finals in Planica at the end of September.
Jelenko finished: “We are all very happy that Planica finally is on the calendar and it will be a huge reward for us in the summer. I cannot wait to compete there and to show everybody on the tour that we have this top-notch infrastructure and that we also might also host World Cups in the winter. If this happened during my career, it would be truly wonderful.”