It is less than 200 days until the beginning of the largest women’s sporting event in the history of independent Slovenia. In addition to Celje, Ljubljana, the second Slovenian venue to host the Women’s EHF Euro 2022 in November, also received its countdown clock.
“Sport is a fantastic ambassador of our country and a link between all parts of society. We were extremely happy when the European Handball Federation, together with Montenegro and Northern Macedonia, awarded us the organization of the Women’s EHF Euro 2022. When we thought about how to make this event special, in addition to handball, we put two issues at the forefront – sustainable development and women’s empowerment, not only in sports, but in general. We have invited 17 successful women from various fields to participate,” said Franjo Bobinac, President of the Slovenian Handball Association and Honorary President of the Organising Committee of the European Championship.
Exactly 197 days before the start of the championship, Bobinac added: “We are approaching November, in which the competition will end right here in Ljubljana. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Municipality of Ljubljana, Mayor Zoran Janković and his entire team. Not only have they been building the most beautiful city in the world for years, they are also giving a lot of support to sports and thus to the organization of the Women’s EHF Euro 2022. A sincere thank you for the fact that in a few months we will be able to look forward to a big sporting event here in Ljubljana. The Slovenian national team is preparing well for it. I am convinced that a top event awaits us, not only in organizational terms, but also in a competitive one. I feel that this will be a new, historical milestone for Slovenia and Slovenian women’s sports. “
In November, Ljubljana will initially host one of the groups in the first part of the competition, and then half of the teams that will advance to the second part of the championship and all the matches of the finals. One of the most loyal fans of Slovenian sports, the Mayor of the Municipality of Ljubljana, Zoran Janković, is also looking forward to all the matches. “Sport is waking up again in Ljubljana. I am extremely happy with the full Stožice Arena, which was built for this purpose. For the November championship, I am announcing the finals of Slovenian national team. If I hadn’t been modest, I would have announced a gold medal. The hall will be full, we will all be cheering,” he said just before the opening of the countdown clock, which stands on New Square and from which passers-by will be greeted by Ana Gros, the captain of the Slovenian national team.
All the national team players are extremely happy to have the opportunity to compete in front of the home fans, so they are already looking forward to the championship. “It is only with such events that we begin to realize that the championship awaits us on home court. We are very much looking forward to that. We know that there will be a lot of Slovenian fans in the stands, and we promise that we will do our best.”
“There are no easy competitors at the European Championships, so it’s hard to say who I would like in group phase. For a more visible result, however, we will have to beat anyone anyway. We will focus primarily on ourselves to show good play and real energy. If everything matches us, the result will come,” added the excellent Slovenian handball player.
The countdown clock will warning of the Women’s EHF Euro 2022 in the next six months. The red thread of the event will be sustainable development with an emphasis on women’s empowerment. The event was therefore also attended by several ambassadors, among them Tjaša Ficko, Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Ljubljana. “I was honored from the very first moment when I received an invitation from the President of the Slovenian Handball Association, Franjo Bobinac, to participate in the project as an ambassador. I wondered if I knew handball well enough to accept this role. I was a little scared, but the invitation convinced me. I believe that the two pillars on which competition is based – sustainable development and women’s empowerment – are key to future social development and quality of life. We have been living in sustainable development in Ljubljana since 2007, when we set a sustainable vision under the leadership of our mayor. In the field of women’s empowerment, I am lucky to work in a team where women also make decisions. In the Municipality of Ljubljana, the ratio between men and women in management positions is 14: 8 in favor of women. Thank you to the mayor for organizing us so well,” said Ficko, adding: “I am proud of our creative team, which will do something more today in the direction of empowering women. From that day on, 28 traffic lights with a female silhouette will shine in four crossroads near Ljubljana’s Stožice. It’s a small step with an important message.”
The Municipality of Ljubljana will also draw attention to the empowerment of women with a special gesture from the unveiling of the countdown clock. For this purpose, she installed a female silhouette on 28 traffic lights intended for pedestrians at four locations in the immediate vicinity of the Stožice Arena.
The organizers are planning a few more events until the start of the big handball event, the first of which will be on the program on Thursday, April 28. In the draw, which will take place at Ljubljana Castle, Slovenian handball players will find out who they will compete in the group stage of the Women’s EHF Euro 2022.