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Slovenia should be in the sports book of record 
 

Click to Enlarge PictureSlovenia has for many years been one of the leading competition climbing nations in the world. This is nothing but remarkable as they only have 2 million inhabitants and also that they have few big climbing gyms. At the same time as the indoor scene is booming, Slovenia has not been so much part of it and instead their success comes based on many small rather old-school gyms.

Martina Cufar won the Lead World Championship in 2001 and since, their Lead female team has been more or less #1 in the world for 17 years straight. During the latest years also, especially their male Boulderers, have showed amazing progress. In the National Team ranking 2018, Slovenia was #2 in Boulder and they are also currently #2 in Lead.

Is there anybody who could come up with an explanation who a relatively, to western Europe, poor country with 2 million inhabitants with few no big modern indoor climbing facilities could be so successful? Is old-school gyms peppered with holds better in comparison to less (colorful) holds in the modern gyms? We know that some train extremely structured mainly doing endurance circles on super small walls. At the same time, they have Jernej Kruder, who won the Boulder WC 2018 but mainly climbs long routes outdoors.

Instead, the most striking thing talking to several athletes and coaches during the last 15 years, is how young they start and the number of climbing hours they put in. Most schools actually have a small wall and most of the best did actually start before they were eight years old. Already being 13 years old, it is quite normal for the best to do several competitions and climb 15-20 hours a week out of which a big portion outdoors. Slovenia is also known for having a great team spirit. Finally, climbing has a very high sport status in Slovenia. (c) Luka Fonda