Croatia's Last Hope: No Olympic Medal for Ivan Kvesić

By 7 August 2021
Croatia's Last Hope: No Olympic Medal for Ivan Kvesić
Josip Regovic / PIXSELL

August 7, 2021 - The last individual representative for Croatia at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, 24-year-old Ivan Kvesić, was left without a place in the karate semifinal after he achieved one victory and three defeats in his group in the over 75 kg category. 

Kvesić started the competition with a 3-2 victory against Saudi Tareg Hamedi. This was followed by a fight against Iranian Sajad Ganjzadeh in which the referees did not recognize Kvesić with a kick to the head at 0-0 after a minute and a half of fighting. By the end, the Iranian national was better and won 3-1, reports

In the 2018 world champion's third fight, the 26-year-old Canadian Daniel Gaysinsky surprisingly won 4-1. After getting the point first, Gaysinsky mostly scored points by countering Kvesić's attempts to reverse the score.

Because Saudi Tareg defeated American Brian Irr (4-1) and Gaysinsky (10-3) and drew a point against the Iranian Ganjzadeh (0-0), Kvesić lost his chances of winning one of the first two places even before the last fight against Irr, because the Iranian fighter also had five points after three fights, and the maximum Kvesić could collect was four. He defeated the American 3-1. 

Kvesić is the current world champion in the 84 kg category from the World Championships in Madrid three years ago. He also won an individual silver and two bronze medals from the European Championships, and bronze and gold with the Croatia team at the European Championships in Porec in May. He also won at the 2019 European Games in Minsk. He was Croatia's great hope for a medal in Tokyo, so much so that bookmakers gave him odds around 1.70, absolutely certain he would return from Japan with a medal.

Croatia no longer has a representative in Tokyo and has won a total of eight medals. 

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