Rafting Team “Liman”

We introduce to you the U23 national men’s team from Serbia – Rafting Team “Liman”.

Liman 9The Eastern European country of Serbia has been a member of the International Rafting Federation (IRF) since 2006, and since the IRF established a Youth division in 2010 the young athletes in Serbia have been given the opportunity to participate in this category. So the young guys from the NK “Liman” took advantage of this opportunity and have participated in the World and European Championships in the Czech Republic 2012, and in Slovakia in 2014 for the European U23 and Open Championships. And besides that, also Euro Cup in Croatia, Bosnia, Bulgaria and Serbia since 2011.

These young people have thus become a part of Serbian rafting history, and they are: Marko Stojanović, Aleksandar Pantelić, Bogdan Ribarić, Miran Gojić, Alex Suvacarov, Vladan Martinović, Nikola Krsmanović with their coach who is also president of the rafting federation of Serbia, Boris Purjakov.

Liman 5This club comes from Zemun, which is a town on the beautiful Danube. This is the river where you can see them practising everyday. “Yes, our training sessions are held on the River Danube in Zemun” – says Marko Stojanovic – “because we do not have money to travel to any other river.” Yeah, it is awkward to train on the flat water of the Danube for a sport that is linked to the wild water.

Liman 4So, what inspires you and motivates you? – “Most of us are inspired by new rivers and new challenges, plus the possibility to represent our country, win medals, meet new friends, rafting girls (we are always among them J)… “- a pretty good motivation, that’s for sure.

Liman 1Dealing with these adventure sports certainly attracts the attention of girls. But I’ll add that this very interesting and dynamic sport also provides us with sets of skills that have proven to be useful in the recent floods. These young guys used these acquired skills to help the victims of the floods that hit Serbia this year. Well done guys.

Liman 7From all the competitions you have participated in so far, which discipline do you enjoy most and which medal is your favourite? – “The first medals are dearest and were in 2012, in Niš, at the nationals, the second in the state for Open and first place for Juniors. We enjoyed the Downriver the most especially at the European Championships in Slovakia 2014. It was a difficult race but so enjoyable and the last race of the competition on a track where we do not get to go often. 

Liman 3Marko, what are your plans for the near future? – “To spread rafting to as many districts in the region, and to make a clubhouse room because we do not even have locker room.”- and those who can help you to solve these problems, how can they contact you? – “They can do this via our website: www.liman-h2o.orgSo far, small but significant help is arriving from the Rafting Association of Serbia and they should be especially thanked!! But to make better progress and have a basic working condition, we need more help from government and sponsors. Serbia has beautiful rivers, but we do not have the material resources to go to them, train and prepare for the competitions. And we’re not talking about millions for training. Any little help would come in handy.” – They have only a place where the equipment stands and they change their clothes in a camper. Definitely inadequate conditions for making progress, especially for an U23 men’s national team. We appeal to all those who can help them to do so. Serbia missed the World Championships in New Zealand in 2013 and Brazil 2014, and we hope to see them next year in Indonesia.

Liman 6You are already five years in this extreme sport and you certainly have experienced a lot. So, Marko, tell me the funniest and worst moments so far? – “One of the funniest things was at the European Championships 2012 in Lipno, Czech Republic, when we had slalom training and by some chance we stuck sideways on a rock and our raft started to fill with water and one half was under water; so one side was under water, the four of us all standing on the other side and we started to laugh. At that moment a photographer runs up to take pictures and so we started to laugh even more! :)”

Liman 2“The worst thing was on the river Ibar this year at the national championships in Zubin Potok, where a rookie in a kayak was pulled into the water at the base of the weir. We know that these dams produce dangerous stoppers. This is because (being man made) they are symmetrical. Therefore they produce stoppers that are regular and have no weaknesses through which a jet of water can flow. We were on the shore waiting for him to emerge to throw him a “safety rope”. Some of us then jumped in a kayak and went up there and somehow pulled him out, it was tricky and scary …..”

Liman 8There are times in the raft when you go to an unknown river and can get to 5 meters before the dam or big drop, anything can happen then :D “ – It certainly gets the adrenaline pumping!

I have had the opportunity to hang out at competitions with these young people, whose positive energy is completely contagious. I have been tracking their progress even before then, so I can say that Serbia does not have to worry about the future because it has a very good team who are still to show their true potential.

We hope to be seeing you at more events; it was a pleasure to talk with you. See you at the competitions.

Facebook – limanzemun