|Ivo Daneu became the first sportsperson to be presented with the Golden Order for Service for Sporting Achievements |
EuroBasket 2013 ambassador Ivo Daneu has had bestowed upon him the highest decoration of the Republic of Slovenia - the Golden Order for Service for Sporting Achievements - in a special ceremony on Monday.
By receiving the award from Slovenian President Borut Pahor, Daneu became not only the first basketball player in the history of his country to gain the award, but the first sportsperson ever.
Members of the 1970 gold-medal winning Yugoslav team, who had the previous day enjoyed their own special moment at a friendly game between Slovenia and Russia during a reunion of the team, were present to see Daneu given his award.
Following the ceremony, former teammate Damir Šolman said, "Ivo is definitely one of the best athletes, not only in Slovenia, but Yugoslavia also. Usually it is the case, that when a sportsman from the collective sport receives an award, it is not only his, because he receives it because of the team's success. But he actually earned it, because he was one of the best basketball players of the world at that time. We are all proud of his award."
Sharing similar thoughts was another former teammate, Aljoša Žorga.
"I think Ivo deserved it and I am happy for him. Ivo was an amazing player. At that time, he was the most talented and the best player of Europe."
True to his character, the man at the centre of attention was remaining humble, adamant the award was the collective effort of the teammates surrounding him.
"I wish to stress, that a part of this decoration belongs to my teammates in AŠK Olimpija and the national team, as well as my coaches: Boško Marinič, who taught me the basics, Boris Kristančič, Aleksandar Nikolić, Ranko Žeravica, Lazar Lečić, Milan Tošić and others.
I worked hard and practiced a lot, since in my time there was no television, computers, iPads and other technology. The only thing that we could do in our lives was to attend school and play basketball," insisted Daneu.