Small Town - Great Personalities!

There are hundreds of Chepelare people who have carved in gold their names in the history of Bulgarian sports. They are proof that a small town can give birth to great personalities to inspire us pursue our dreams!

One of these remarkable figures is the biathlete Ekaterina Dafovska who won the first and by far the only gold medal for Bulgaria at the 1998 Winter Olympics, competing in the 15 km individual race.

Chepelare has decade-long traditions in sports and manufacture of ski snowboarding equipment. It is no coincidence that its other name is the "Winter Olympic Capital of Bulgaria". The career of many distinguished athletes in alpine disciplines, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, biathlon and snowboarding have started here. Chepelare is also the birthplace of Radoslav Yankov, the winner of 2016 Snowboard World Cup parallel slalom. Chepelare is home of the only Ski Museum in Bulgaria, inaugurated in 1998.


Ekaterina Dafovska

This remarkable athlete was born on November 28, 1975 in Chepelare, Smolyan region. At the age of 15, she enrolled in the local sports club, where she began practicing biathlon. The first success came in 1993 – a bronze medal at the Women’s Junior World Championship.

To-date, Ekaterina Dafovska continues to be the most successful Bulgarian biathlete. She has an Olympic title, a European title and two bronze medals from world championships under her belt.

She brought the only olimpic gold for Bulgaria from Nagano Winter Olympics, competing in the 15 km individual race - February 9, 1998 was a day of geat glory for all Bulgarians. Up to that point, Bulgaria could only brag with the bronze medal of Ivan Lebanov from the 1980 Winter Olimpics in Lake Placid.

Ekaterina Dafovska

Дафовска печели и златен медал в индивидуалната дисциплина на 15 километра за жени на Европейското първенство по биатлон през 2004 г. в Минск. В актива си тя има и бронз от спринта през 2006 г. Тогава 28-годишната чепеларка прави само две грешки в стрелбата и заема първо място с общо време 46:14,7 минути. Така към олимпийската титла от Нагано прибавя и европейската в тази дисциплина. Неин личен треньор е Боран Хаджиев, а в националния отбор Николай Болчев. През март 2007 г. обявява, че прекратява състезателната си кариера. В кариерата си Дафовска има 43 златни, 8 сребърни и 2 бронзови медала от републикански и балкански първенства. Многобройни са нейните призови класирания от Световни купи и Световни първенства при девойките и жените. Дафовска е избрана за Спортист №1 на България за 1998 г.

Radoslav Yankov

Radoslav Yankov is a young snowboarder. He was born on January 26, 1990 in Chepelare. He competes in two disciplines - Parallel Giant Slalom (PGS) and Parallel Slalom (PSL). His personal coach in the national team is Georgi Atanasov, and the club he competes for is Amer Sports Snowboard Club where he is coached by Vasil Milchev, who happened to be his first coach as a child too.

In March 6, 2016, he won the Big Crystal Globe trophy in parallel disciplines, and in March 18, 2017 - the Small Crystal Globe in the parallel giant slalom.

Among his greatest achievements is also the win at the Men's Parallel Giant Slalom in the Italian town of Carezza in December 12, 2015. He triumphed in the PGS, leaving behind great names in the sport such as Andrey Sobolev and Vic Wilde. After Carezza, the Bulgarian also won the World Cup in Bad Gastein on January 8 and became second in Rogla (Slovenia). These top rankings brought him the Big Crystal Globe in both disciplines for the 2015/2016 season. Yankov also competed for Bulgaria at the Winter Olympics in Sochi and Pyeongchang. To-date, he has 3 wins and 8 podiums at World Cup events. He finished fourth and sixth at the 2017 World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain.

Ekaterina Dafovska

Positions, Rankings and Awards

2003 - 1st place at the children’s competition Pinocchio World Cup in Italy
2004 - 2nd place at the Children European Cup in Romania
2005 – 3rd place at the Pinocchio World Cup in Italy
2007 - Gold medal at the European Youth Olympic Festival in Jaka, Spain
2008 –World Champion at the Junior World Championship in Italy
2008 – winner of the Sports Icarus Awards for a breakthrough in world’s sports elite
2008 – winner of the parallel slalom race at the Junior World Championship in Valmalenco, Spain
2008 – winner of the parallel slalom at the Junior World Championship in Valmalenco, Spain

2008 – winner of the ‘Sportsman No. 1’ Award of Chepelare Municipality
2009 –World Champion at the Junior World Championship
2009 - 2nd place at the Men's Parallel Giant Slalom in the Russian resort of Abzakovo
2009 - winner of the Icarus Sports Award for most promising young athlete
2011 – 1st place at the National Championship
2012 - 1st place at Bulgaria Cup snowboard parallel slalom
2015 – 2016 - 1st place at the Bulgaria Cup National Championship
2016 - Winner of the Big Crystal Globe at the snowboard parallel racing
2017 – winner of the Small Crystal Ball at the snowboard parallel giant slalom racing

There are many other Bulgarians winners of national and international competitions:

Dimitar Marinov - cross-country skiing; Shinka Kutsinova - Alpine skiing disciplines; Evangelina Peshinska - Alpine Skiing; Lilyana Sirakova - cross-country skiing; Hristina Markova - cross-country skiing; Lilyana Krastanova - cross-country skiing; Krastana Stoeva - cross-country skiing; Velichka Shokova - Alpine skiing disciplines; Georgi Milushev - cross-country skiing; Dobrina Mizyuleva - cross-country skiing; Vasil Sivkov - cross-country skiing; Angel Chuchuranov - cross-country skiing; Todor Sivenov - cross-country skiing; Milcho Minev - cross-country skiing; Dimitar Mandov - cross-country skiing; Savko and Boran Hadzhievi - biathlon; Dimitar Nedev - biathlon; Atanas Semerdzhiev - cross-country skiing; Mano Ketenliev - cross-country skiing; Boyan Lekov - cross-country skiing; Anastas Katsarov - cross-country skiing; Borislav Kiryakov - Alpine skiing disciplines; Irin Pashaliev - Alpine disciplines; Mitko Hadzhiev - Alpine skiing; Ventsislav Alexandrov, Pavlin Gagnev, Emilia Alexandrova, Aneta Kateva, Daniela Katteva, Tatiana Chekrakchieva - biathlon; Asenka Hadzhieva, Lilia Pandurova, Miroslav Pandurov, Borislav Hadzhiev, Hristina Pishtalova, Radoslav Guigov, Krasimir Katev, Plamen Doichev, Petar Shterev – biathlon. Dimitar Gerdzhikov and Anton Sinapov are active competitors in the Bulgarian national biathlon team.

44B "Belomorska" street,
4850  Chepelare, Bulgaria

Municipality of Chepelare:
Phone: +359 3051 / 82-80,
Fax: 03051/82-79

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This site is a donation from Siika Anastasova Katsarova - raised in Chepelare, currently Vice President of the European SPA Association and chairman of Bulgarian Union of Balneology and SPA Tourism.