Knjiga gostov - sporočila za Merlene Ista stran v slovensščini

Merlene Ottey granted a Slovenian Citizenship

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season 2002



national team

Merlene Ottey - a 'Slovenian'

Merlene Ottey, the "Black Gazelle", as she is often named, has been living, working and training in  Ljubljana for several years now, while from May 2002 she is also officially a Citizen of the Republic of Slovenia.

She received her Slovenian Passport after Slovenian Government's  decision based on a special regulation regarding exceptional naturalization of foreigners. She is entitled to this honour as an exceptional  sportswoman whose achievements can serve Slovenia.

"When I filled in and signed all the necessary papers I ran downstairs and took my new Passport I've been eagerly awaiting for, and a few moments later my Coach Djordjevic and I made a toast to it with the glass of red wine. We deserved it, since a lot of patience and determination had been needed - administration takes its time", Merlene remembers last year's "struggle".

By being granted Slovenian Citizenship, Merlene's wishes came through since she "fell in love at first sight with Slovenia when she arrived to Ljubljana for the first time in 1998" as she uses to say.

She received her new Passport on her 42.nd Birthday on May 10. 2002.

Here's what Merlene told us at the Press Conference about her project "How to become a Slovenian":

"I am very glad and honoured at the same time to be able to finally compete for Slovenia! When I came to this Country 4 years ago, I have - to tell you honestly - "fallen in love" with this small country with so many kind people.

I didn't know then, what I'll be doing when my athletic career ends. But then it came over night. The opportunity arouse for me to stay in Slovenia and help sportsman and trainers. I then started thinking of my life after my athletic career ends.

When I lost a whole season due to an injury some yeas ago, my decision to stay here became more realistic and even more firm.

mottey155_430.jpg (42735 bytes)What about at home, at Jamaica, what do her relatives say about it?

Jamaica's pubic opinion has certainly been diverse, and there were some rumours, of course, but Merlene's decision was firm and this is the way it will be.

Jamaican's public opinion was more against her decision, which could be understood since they have lost a great and very popular citizen and sportswoman.

"My Family supports me. My Mother even said I should have done it before, some 10 years ago! - but this is her thinking. To me, all that counts are the facts they support me and they agree with it.", says Merlene while recalling all the variety of reactions on her leaving Jamaica, and adds:

"Of course, there are many people who disagree with my decision. At Jamaica you'll always find so many different opinions on such cases, and they only encourage any kind of debate, usually very vivid ones. 

But all my real fans and supporters agree with me and my decision - all the rest, those against me, are stunned, of course!. One can not change it!  My Family had been through many unpleasant moments because of that, since they are there all the time, they live at Jamaica and they are exposed to all the rumours and gossip about my decision. That is why they al want to forget it as soon as possible and they are eagerly awaiting my first official performance for my new country, Slovenia. And so am I!".

"Slovenian" - Merlene Ottey

Knjiga gostov- sporočila za Merlene

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