By James Eakin
As the IMMAF World Championships draw ever closer, we look at some of the returning stars and burgeoning contenders who will represent Slovakia in Abu Dhabi at the end of January.
Despite only taking five athletes to last year’s World Championships, the Slovakian team still managed to achieve an impressive 8th in the medal table and will look to build on their success next month. Currently ranked at number 18 in the world, Slovakia will be hoping for landmark victories and podium finishes for its athletes to boost their ranking place and propel their athletes into the spotlight.
Six athletes will travel to Abu Dhabi, alongside four coaches and one team official. The list of athletes representing Slovakia include one contender at Men’s Bantamweight, two at Featherweight, and one each at Lightweight, Welterweight and Middleweight:
- Men’s Bantamweight – Kristian Nguyen (0-0-0)
- Men’s Featherweight – Marek Medovarski (0-0-0), Mario Brezovsky (1-1-0)
- Men’s Lightweight – Marcel Simo (0-0-0)
- Men’s Welterweight – Michal Garaj (0-0-0)
- Men’s Middleweight – Radomir Chovan (1-1-0)
The coaching team includes Kamil Cibinski, Matej Kiraly, Pavel Berky and Robert Delic. The team official will be Marek Herda.
This group of senior Slovakian athletes will be looking to emulate the previous success of athletes like Miroslav Mlyncek and Slavka Holubjakova who won bronze and gold medals at last year’s Youth World Championship in spectacular fashion. Holubjakova went a perfect 3-0 with three submission victories on her route to glory, whereas Mlyncek beat opponents from Russia and Ukraine, who have junior national teams currently ranked at number 1 and number 3 in the official IMMAF rankings.
The 2021 IMMAF World Championships represent a historic occasion, as it will be the first World Championships for seniors and juniors to be held for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. All the athletes competing will be gunning to state their claim as the best, and it will be exciting to see a new group of talent take the spotlight in Abu Dhabi.