Dunja Zdouc, Austrian champion of Slovenian roots

The first competition day of the IBU World Championships Biathlon 2021 Pokljuka brought a Mixed Relay race. After an excellent performance, Austrian team celebrated the silver medal. Dunja Zdouc, who was an integral part of the team, makes proud Slovenians too.

Zdouc is namely a Carinthian Slovene, originally from Radsberg in Carinthia, Austria. After winning the silver medal in the opening race of the championships, she could not hide her happiness: “It’s like a fairy tale. I still haven’t realised that we have just won a medal. I’m happy, I’m all smiles. It was not easy, but we had great material. Also, my shooting was excellent. I am very happy, everything was so smooth.”

The 27-year-old, born in Klagenfurt, answered questions from the Slovenian media in heartfelt Slovene, as they speak the Slovene dialect at home. She also feels at home in Pokljuka. “I perceive Pokljuka a bit as a home venue. I am a proud Carinthian Slovene, I love being here. I really enjoy the World Championships in Pokljuka, in beautiful Slovenia. I hope that the coming days will be so beautiful,” said the versatile athlete, who enjoys cooking and reading.

She would also like to see the support from the Pokljuka grandstands, but in the current situation this is unfortunately not possible: “It’s a pity that spectators are not allowed on the grandstands, otherwise family and friends would also be here.”

Pokljuka welcomed the national teams with a slightly changed venue, they also renovated the tracks. “I think if you’re in good shape, then it’s easy everywhere. But the track is challenging in every way,” said a member of the DSG Sele-Zell sports club.
With a silver medal in the Mixed Relay competition, she achieved the greatest success so far, after she previously won medals in lower-level international competitions. “I could hardly wish for a better start. I’ve never had a medal at the World Championships, so I’ll enjoy the success. I haven’t been under pressure before, but now I can really just enjoy it,” admitted the biathlete, who has been involved in the sport since 2009.

Eleven days of the championships are still left and new opportunities for success are ahead of Dunja, who comes from a sports family – mother Zala is a top athlete in long-distance running, mountain running and cross-country skiing: “Everything that still comes will be even better, so I don’t even bother in which discipline I aim the highest.”