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UPDATED: 24. MAR, AT 14:01

Slovak downhill skier Žampa may represent Russia

SUCCESSFUL Slovak downhill skier Adam Žampa, a winner of several medals who also placed fifth and sixth at the Sochi Olympics, will probably compete for Russia. 

(Source: AP/TASR)

Recently, he has   expressed his will to leave the Slovak National team.

Žampa argued over the lack of financial support from the Slovak Skiing Association – as he races almost solely thanks to the resources of his parents and sponsors, the SITA newswire wrote on March 21.

“In Slovakia, you can get to a certain level in sport, but alas, my acquaintances, family friends and especially parents cannot secure this forever (mainly financially),” Adam Žampa wrote on Facebook. “I want to personally progress, move forward in my career, and, unfortunately, this is not possible in Slovakia. There will certainly be people who will understand this – but also those who will be against.”

Žampa and his brother Andreas may represent Russia, their father and coach Tomáš Žampa confirmed to the Pravda daily.

“The first offer came from Russia after last year’s Olympic Games in Sochi,” he told the daily. “At the time we stayed on top of things. Slovak functionaries assured us they will create quality conditions for preparation for us. The promises now came to pass, and the reality is different.”

Meanwhile, Education Minister Juraj Draxler ordered a stop to financing of the Slovak Skiing Association and asked for documents proving its use of the money received from the ministry, the Denník N reported on its website.

Draxler follows the orders of Prime Minister Robert Fico who wrote on his official Facebook site that if Žampa accepts, he would gladly meet him and discuss the current situation.

Žampa, apart from the Olympic placing, has recorded several good results, including his best finish this season in the slalom World Cup in Kranjska Gora where he ended up fourteenth; in the Alpine combination on Kitzbuehel, he placed seventh. 

Tomáš Žampa addressed the Slovak Olympic Committee (SOV) with a letter describing the unbearable situation surrounding the financing and fundraising for the sport careers of skiers, the TASR newswire wrote. He outlined the situation and asked the committee for permission to compete for another national team – without specifying which country. 

SOV reacted by stating that it does not owe any money to the Žampas and Adam Žampa even gets a special bonus of USD 1,500 a month, TASR wrote on March 21.

However, Tomáš Žampa stressed that the financial situation is just one reason to leave Slovak sports; other ones are poor communication of the sport associations and a split within the Alpine section of the Slovak Skiing Association, when he became the head of the leadership after an assembly recalled the previous one – which, however, refused to step down.    

The Sme daily  summed up in an opinion piece that Slovak sport is overshadowed by the situation among various sport associations, unions and committees, which is non-transparent, complex and very hard to solve – none of the governments since Slovakia became independent managed to bring light into organised sports. Financing is crucial, but lack of communication, non-systemic work and other phenomena contribute, too, to the bad situation. Žampas’ step is only the tip of the iceberg, Sme wrote on March 22.     

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