Thursday, December 3, 2009

Milica Pekic – Ambitious Kayaker From Belgrade

By: Katarina Jonev
Belgrade, Dec.2, 2009 (Serbia Today) - Milica Pekic, a brilliant 21 year old and one of most successful Kayakers in Serbia, has won 83 medals in national and regional contests. She started to train in club Zmaj 6 years ago before she changed to train in club Zemun and became one of the biggest stars in the club.
Pekic is competing in all three kayak disciplines, but focuses most of her energies on singles competion.
“This year I won a total of 15 medals. I participated in the Belgrade Championship and won 2 gold medals in the 500m and 1000m disciplines, then on the international regatta "Zmaj" I won 3 medals two of which were gold. At the regatta in Becej I won 2 silver medals, a silver one in Kanjiza. I had a great outing at the Belgrade Championship in Obrenovac 2 and won two silver medals.” said Pekic.
Thanks to her accomplishments, selector of female kayak national team, Janos Panta, called Pekic 4 years ago to join the team.
“I was honored when I was first invited to become member of the team. I was 17 when I first competed for the national team and like all athletes who get the opportunity to represent their country I felt like was doing something meaningful,” said Pekic.
Serbian Kayak League is growing stronger from year to year. More than 20 clubs are competing and the competition for winning first place is great. “Zemun” is a club that has one of the best program for talented competitors who on every major competition, and win medals.
“I am satisfied with working conditions in my club. In summer we train on the water and in winter because of the weather we train on land and that encourages the development of fitness and technique. Generally speaking conditions for training are not great. Very little funding from the state budget is allocated for kayaking, and there is only one place that is convenient for the train in Belgrade and that is Ada Ciganlija, but training during swimming season is simply impossible. Even the national championship had to be moved a week later because of swimmers,” said Pekic.
When asked why there are World Cup listed kayakers who are not from Belgrade and even not members of Belgrade clubs, whether or not this mean that they have better working conditions outside of capital city Pekic responded,
“Regarding the kayakers from smaller cities - I have to underline the fact that most of them have an opportunity to train on rivers and canals which are suitable for this sport. On the other hand we paddle on Danube which is a very fast and bustling river. It is difficult to train in those conditions. Waves make it difficult to maintain balance on water surface and spoils kayaker’s techniques, which is a crucial part of kayaking.”
Natasa Janic who is Serbia’s best female kayaker is now a member of the national Hungarian team. Pekic admits that she is very superstitious and often carries talisman during the race but it is her strong swing, proper posture, strength and fighting spirit which seem to be winning the competitions.

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