The organization of the World Rowing Championships at Bled in 2011 is a great recognition for Slovenia, which is one of the most successful countries in the world in terms of the medals won in this sport per number of inhabitants. Bled is considered
the center of Slovenian rowing, however, this sport has also spread to certain other Slovenian towns, with Slovenian littoral towns playing an important part.
The beginnings of rowing in Slovenia date back to 1882, when the first rowing club was founded in Koper. Today there are seven registered rowing clubs in Slovenia with about 300 competitors. Despite the small number of competitors, Slovenian rowing is noted throughout the world and can boast the titles of world and Olympic champion. The leaders are most certainly Luka Špik and Iztok Čop, who is also the most successful Slovenian athlete in recent years. The successes of Slovenian rowers have also contributed to the fact that the inhabitants of Slovenia have recognized rowing as a valuable component of Slovenian sport.
Slovenia with Bled, which will in two years' time once again host the finest rowers of the world, is also known for the organization of numerous regattas. Four years ago at Bled we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first rowing race on Lake Bled. The first larger regatta was the national championship of Yugoslavia in 1930. The first international regatta was held at Bled as early as 1950.
I am glad that in two years' time we will once again show not only that Bled with its lake is a first-class rowing venue, but also that Slovenia is a country that lives with rowing and with its rowing heroes. For this reason the state will contribute substantially to renewing the rowing center at Bled in accordance with the needs and demands of modern top-level rowing, which will also in the future enable the development of this beautiful and demanding sport.
Dr. Igor Lukšič
Minister of Education and Sport