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History of Showdown in Slovenia
Showdown was discovered by our paraOlympic athletes at the paraolimpic games in Atlanta in the year 1996 when showdown was one of the presenting sports. It was noticed by Anton Marton, a trainer of the goalball representative body of that time and a physical education teacher in a home for the Blind and partially sighted youth. With other people's help he successfully 'transported' it in Slovenia where three showdown tables were made in 1998 and eleven more in 2000. The only producer of these tables in Slovenia is a 'secondary school magering in carpentry' in Škofja Loka. Due to demands and needs that kept appearing through the years, four more tables were made aditionally in 2008. These tables however are made at the topmost level, easy to transport and stable enough for a quality game.
In 2001 Slovenians started playing and train in showdown which caused a certain amount of competition and also the first unofficial contests. It was played at the two schools for the blind in Slovenia (home or the blind and partially sighted in Ljubljana and centre for the blind and partially sighted in Škofja Loka), and also at all of the nine associations of the blind and partially sighted in Slovenia (Koper, Nova Gorica, Kranj, Ljubljana, Novo Mesto, Celje, Ptuj, Maribor and Murska Sobota). School and society championships were organized. In 2003 these championships united into Slovenian league under the patronage of union of the blind and partially sighted in Slovenia. In the end of the league the qualified players could participate in the first state championship of Slovenia in 2003. Since then the league is being regularly organized and afterwards there is always a state championship.
In 2004 one of Slovenian players went out of the country and took part in an international championship. That player was Boštjan Vogrinčič who, accompanied by one of our judges Mr. Nejc Jakič, participated in a contest at Europian championship in Handen, Sweeden. Boštjan was placed somewhere in the middle of the scale. After that the development of showdown in Slovenia considerably advanced, in quality as well as in quantity. In 2005 the union of sports for handicapped people chose Mr. Gregor Habjan and assigned him the role of coach of showdown representative body. Because Mr. Habjan's occupation is professor of physical education and has been employed as one at the home for the blind and partially sighted for quite some time, recieving a lot of experience, he gladly excepted their invitation. After excepting the responcibility he started visiting the nine associations, discovering hidden talents and encouraged showdown on a national level as much as possible. Soon there was formed a group of fifteen players who were capable of playing a quality game and, after all, of achieving good results on an international level. Therefore we thank the union of sports for handicapped people who supported Mr. Habjan's work and trusted him for he worked with the players more or less on a professional level.
A course for showdown judges was organized in 2002 where Slovenia got eight official judges. The next course was in 2007 and was completed by six aditional judges. The last course for three more judges was carried out in 2009. Thanks to these courses we got quite many judges who can judge in Slovenia as well as in other countries. The next judging seminar is planned in 2012 and will be designed for new judges and and also as a revising course for already existent judges.
Slovenia as a representative body Officially participated in a championship for the first time in 2005, in Olomouc, Bohemia. That is where the first world championship was organized and more than nine countries participated. At that time Slovenian contestants were still completely inexperienced and suitably successful (in women's category Tanja Jesih Bačnik reached a great sixth place). The championship took the players by surprise and left them utterly exhausted in the end. Their schedule was very straining since the contests were taking place every day from seven in the morning to ten in the evening. Whene there our coach discovered a formula how to work with the representative body from then on! The way of training was entirely changed. Despite all the new work however, the new way hadn't helped them reach any visible results in 2006 on Europian championship in Den Bosch, Netherlands. The only thing Slovenia can be proud of that year are the judges Nejc Jakič and Špela Susman who did their work outstandingly. This championship was also the first to host competing in groups which became a standard on all larger championships and tournaments.
We can truely start to speak of real Slovenian representative body success in year 2006, when they took part in the forth Europian championship in Tuusula, Finland. There our contestants really outdid themselves. Aleksander Sabo got to a wonderful second place in male competition, while Jana Fuhrer recieved a great third place in female competition. In group category they unfortunately just barely missed semifinals. We will keep this championship in good memory, as probably will the other contestants. Following this success Slovenians participated in international tournaments more often and reached quite a few great places.
Milan 2009 (Jana Fuhrer 2nd place, Team Slovenia 3rd place), Milan 2010 (Peter Zidar 1st place, Jana Fuhrer 1st place), Prague 2010 (Peter Zidar 1st place, Jana Fuhrer 1st place, Sanja Kos 2nd place), Pajulahti Games (Aleksander Sabo 2nd place, Peter Zidar 3rd place, Jana Fuhrer 2nd place)
In the year 2009, at the 2nd world championship in Handen, Sweeden our contestant Jana Fuhrer got the first chance to be lifted up on the shoulders of showdown fans as the world showdown champion, as did the entire representative body of Slovenia when they too became world champions in the group category. The male category came very close to the top three steps as well with Sabo's 4th place. They will do all they can to try and acheave at least as good rezults or even better next year, in 2012, when the world championship will be held here in Slovenia (in all probability in Kamnik).
But that was by far not the end of our contestants' success since the representative body corroborated in the Europian Championship the next year after their big success also in Handen. I can say that our success was even greater then, since we got the chance to lift one of our own students up on our shoulders as the Europian Champion of showdown. That was Aleksander Sabo. We were just as happy to selebrate the 2nd place of Jana Fuhrer and also 2nd place of Slovenia in the group category.
Ever since 2009 after the championship in Sweeden they also hold the tournament where the best twelve contestants compete against each other. We are proud to say that our students have almost always acheaved fantastic results in these tournaments. In 2009 Jana Fuhrer brought home a silver medal in women's category as did Peter Zidar in male category the next year, in 2010.
But tournaments are not held just abroad since in Slovenia we have been holding many besides the legue and the state championship in these past few years. Our biggest tournament SDSS OPEN is held in August. Every year our students can also participate in school championship and a tournament for blind youth at Kolpa which is especially popular among players.
In all these years a few names have surfaced and marked the history of Slovenian showdown!
As a president of ZŠIS, Emil Muri encourages supports showdown on an international level! Gregor Habjan is responsible for the development of showdown and for coaching Slovenian players and encourages them to be successful at home as well as abroad. He also takes responsibility for the development of sports for the blind and partially sighted, and he collaborates very well with union of the blind and the union of sports for handicapped people. He organizes all the larger contests in Slovenia. And he collaborates and helps to organize the contests abroad as well.
Nejc Jakič, our main showdown judge set high measures in Slovenia, but also high quality of judging. He also took the first courses of showdown judging here.
Jana Fuhrer is a four times state champion, the current world champion, has twice recieved the tytle of The Handicapped Sportswoman of the year, has recieved the award of the olimpic committee a cupple of times and is also a possessor of many brons, silver and gold medals. Congratulations Jana!
Aleksander Sabo is a five times state champion, european champion, has once recieved the tytle of The Handicapped Sportsman of the year, has recieved an award of the olimpic committee a cupple of times and got many different medals in international contests.
Peter Zidar is a actual world champion, two times european champion, seven times state champion, the current first on world championship 2016, a winner a lot off tournaments and possessor of many different medals. He has recieved a loto of tytles and awards of the olimpic committee. He is also the best showdown player in Slovenia.
Sanja Kos, Jana Fuhrer, Simon Podobnikar, Peter Zidar and Aleksander Sabo; the actual world champions and recievers of the award of the olimpic committee
Tanja Oranič, Jana Fuhrer, Aleksander Novak, Peter Zidar and Aleksander Sabo; Europian championship seconds annd recievers of the award of the olimpic committee
You can find out more about the Slovenian showdown on: http://www.showdown.si