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Reception of Slovenian Cyclists by the Minister Dr. Kustec

On 25 July 2021 The Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Tokyo hosted a reception in honour of three Slovenian cyclists, Tadej Pogačar, Jan Polanc and Jan Tratnik, who participated in the road cycling race at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in the presence of the Minister of Education, Science and Sport, Dr Kustec, the President of the Slovenian Olympic Committee, Mr Gabrovec, and the Head of the Slovenian National Team, Mr Cerar.

We celebrated Tadej Pogačar's bronze medal, the result of the combined efforts of all Slovenian cyclists in the race. Ambassador Dr Polak Petrič stressed that it was a great honour to be the first official Slovenian institution to see the first Slovenian medal of these Games. She added that representing one's country abroad on such days is one of the most beautiful professions.

Minister Dr. Kustec stressed the importance of the bright examples set by athletes, whose actions show how important it is to endure and move on. She sincerely congratulated them on their success and expressed her deep pride in what they are doing for Slovenia as a whole. NOC President Gabrovec stressed that what the cyclists have done for Slovenia, for the Slovenian nation and for Slovenian sport is something invaluable and indescribable.

The three Slovenian athletes underlined that it had been an extraordinary week for them. They expressed their joy at receiving the bronze medal by Tadej Pogačar, and expressed their pride for representing Slovenia at the Tokyo Olympics. They also expressed their gratitude for the warm welcome at the Embassy.

At the event, they also had the opportunity to meet Hiraku Nomura, a former pupil of Brezovica Primary School near Ljubljana, who moved to Japan as an orphan after losing his father. Hiraku was born in Slovenia, his mother died shortly after his birth and his father died in December due to covid. NOC Deputy President Tomaž Barada presented him with a signed Slovenian national basketball team jersey, while the head of the Slovenian national team, Mr Cerar, presented him with a special scholarship on behalf of NOC and a silver ring depicting Mr Cerar's figure from the horse and handles competition.

We were also pleased to have with us a legend of Slovenian sport, Mr Miroslav Cerar, who won two Olympic medals at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics (one gold and one bronze).  Ambassador Dr Polak Petrič pointed out that Miroslav Cerar is a hero today when he proudly watches Slovenian athletes; he goes to all the games, crosses his fingers and wishes them the best; he does not tire of anything, just to be at the scene of the games.