Home » Judo news
The latest Judo News offered by JudoInside.com
Finally green light for World Championships Runner-up Miha Zgank to switch to Turkey
6 Mar 2018 14:50
Last year October JudoInside wrote about a likely switch for Mihael Žgank from Slovenia to Turkey. It has been a bit quiet for good reasons, but last week both federations agreed upon a transfer compensation for acquiring the vice world champion U90. Mihael Žgank will soon fight for Turkey and possibly at the European Championships in Tel Aviv in April.
The main reason Žgank moved to Turkey is a financial reason. He loves Slovenia, but was close to giving up after last year’s Europeans and didn’t want to be in a situation where sport didn’t bring him any financial gain, like most of the athletes. The 24-year-old judo player from Migojnice pulled back from the negotiations and let it to the federations. It took a while but has now been successfully concluded. Žgank can start acquiring Turkish citizenship but he already trains in Turkey and was at training camps in Georgia and Azerbaijan.
For the 2020 Tokio Olympic Games Zgank is determined to fight for Turkey. Siol interviewed Miha Zgank.
“I am currently a member of the BBSK Istanbul Club, which also includes a basketball team, played by Slovenian player Jaka Klobučar. I will have more sparing partners than I did in Slovenia. In my category there are five or six judoka, even in the higher category they are good enough to for training. I have 7 to 10 very good partners at all times, and in Slovenia, even in Austria, I did not have that. But not only this, it is still a financial asset for preparation. Practically throughout the year we are on preparations, including in Japan, we will go several times, there are more masseurs in the team, in short, everything is on a very professional level.”
Are there any other foreigners in your club or are they exclusively Turkish judoka?
In my category there are only Turkish players, while in other categories there are also foreigners. Two Georgians, Russian a lot has happened in the last period.
In which language do you communicate?
“A little English, a little with my hands (laughter), and I also learn Turkish. I think it'll work. I like it here, people are friendly, Istanbul is beautiful. The main thing is to learn the language, then friendships will probably also be formed. I am currently staying at the hotel, because we have preparations, followed by relocations to Antalya. I am constantly on the way, so I'm still without a residence address right now.”
Your home club Z'Dežele Sankaku and the Judo Federation of Slovenia gave you a green light last week. Who is helping you with the formal steps?
“Most of my manager is Hakan Dogan, a Turkish manager living in Germany. Being master of the Turkish, everything is easier. I trained in my old club with Marjan Fabjan, I was on preparations in Croatia with their team. I was in Cuba and since this year I have been training with the Turkish team.”
You mentioned Marjan Fabjan. How do you assess its role in your sporting development? In his club you have been since the seventh year.
First I trained in Žalec with Lucija Polavder, and then I joined the club at Lopata. Fabi was always with me and plays a very important role in my career.
Have you been consulted with him on the next steps, or have you just informed him of his decision?
No, we talked about it earlier. He was on my side all the time.
After the European championship, I had a minor crisis, and for a week I really thought about everything possible, but I do not think that I would have finished my career. I like sports very much and it's hard to get away from it.
Fabjan mentioned that he will take you open hands as a coach. Is this a realistic option?
Of course. With my heart I remain in Slovenia, this is my country and I love it. I have been and will always be a Slovenian, there is no doubt about it. In 10, 15 years I will probably return to Slovenia and I do not rule out the possibility of being a coach here or otherwise helping the connection. We will see how things will develop.
What kind of contract binds you to the Turkish national team? Is this a contract for a specific cycle, say the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games?
Until the end of the career, we did not exactly come to an end.
What was the reaction of the public? What feedback did you receive?
I expected several negative comments in the style of betrayal, but they were not. It seems to me that she has considered the positive that people have afforded me to go abroad and try to provide the means for my life. Many people know the situation, we do not even have a regular annuity in Slovenia after the end of our career.
Related judoka and events
Related Judo Photos
Related Judo Videos
Related Judo News
World silver medallist Mihael Žgank of Slovenia received an offer he cannot refuse and by this he will secure his career as from now on in the judo world as he will fight for Turkey in the future. "I may bring with me some additional knowledge that I will obtain abroad. If everything goes as it should, I could start collecting points for the strength scale in a few months, which is a prerequisite for qualifying for the Olympic Games in the national team of Turkey" Žgank said for RTV Slovenia. Read more
Looking back at the medal table the two medals of Slovenia shine like a diamond. Tina Trstenjak won the only gold medal for her country so far and with the bronze of Ana Velensek judo dominates the three medals in total for Slovenia. Judo clearly delivered again for Slovenia, the tiny young country with just about 2 million people won its second consecutive judo gold. In 2012 Urska Zolnir achieved the golden mission, now the team of Marjan Fabjan won two medals while also Urska Zolnir impressed as men’s coach with the fifth and surprising place for Adrian Gomboc. Read more
Serbia started the day with their greatest opportunity to realise their dream of crowning a world judo champion but instead of world number one Aleksandar Kukolj it was a 21-year-old Worlds debutant who ruled the sport. World number 23 and double Junior European Champion Nemanja Majdov was the first shock finalist in the U90kg category and was then joined by world number 14 Mihael Zgank (SLO). Read more
What a year it has been so far for Axel Clerget of France. At the age of 30 he is still one of the favourites for the European Championships gold medal in Warsaw U90kg. The Frenchman would normally get heavy competition of Alexandre Iddir, but so far Clerget is the man. Varlam Liparteliani left this category but gave us back Beka Gviniashvili. No space for Tchrikishvili yet in this category, but he will come soon this year. Clerget was the most appealing European so far this year. Read more
Former World Judo Masters winner Beka Gviniashvili of Georgia may only be 21 years old but he is one of the most decorated and talented judoka in the sport and is just getting started. The Georgian won his fifth Grand Prix gold medal on Sunday with a mercurial display that illustrated why he is the golden boy of Georgian judo. Read more
Yuri Matsunobu (JPN)