Incredible Ivan Šapina Wins European Taekwondo Gold for Croatia!

Incredible Ivan Šapina Wins European Taekwondo Gold for Croatia!

Maya 21, 2022 - Ivan Šapina from Marjan Split is the new European champion in taekwondo in the category up to 87 kilograms, while Nika Klepac returns to Zagreb with the silver! 

The Croatia taekwondo team thus reached their fourth and fifth medals at the senior European Championships in Manchester after only two days of competition, reports HRT.

Šapina, a 2020 Tokyo Olympian and a native of Zagreb who competes for Marjan Split, continued to win medals at major competitions after winning bronze at the 2019 World Championships and 2021 European Championships, adding the third medal in a row - his first senior gold medal in major competitions. Šapina celebrated all three fights to the final with over 20 points.

In the round of 16, he defeated Cypriot Andreas Theocharous 26:0. In the quarterfinals, he was better than Ukrainian Vladyslav Bondar by 24:4, while in the semifinals, he defeated Slovenian Patrik Divković by another 24:4.

The final was dramatic though it was nothing for Šapina, who has encountered several nail-biting fights in recent years. After 11-11, the final against the Spaniard Raul Martinez Garcia went to the extra round for a golden point. However, there were no points even after the extra round, so the winner was decided by several attempts by Šapina in the extra round.

Šapina is already the eighth senior European champion from Marjan Split after Ana and Lucija Zaninović, Toni Kanaet, Lovro Brečić, Matea Jelić, Bruno Vuletić and Lena Stojković, which speaks volumes about the systematic work that continued in Split after the departure of the Zaninović sisters.

The silver medal was won by Nika Klepac, a member of Medvedgrad Zagreb, who won in the 73 kg category against the excellent Dutchwoman Reshmia Oogink with a 4:0 golden point and then beat German Alema Hadžić 4:2 in the medal fight. Nika defeated Paule Marie Ble in the semifinals with an incredible 15-8 fight and advanced to the European Championship final against another Frenchwoman who was still too strong. Laurin took the gold to France (16:0).

Nika Petanjek was close to the medal, which started in the round of 16 with a 9:6 victory over Spaniard Tania Castineira. In the quarterfinals, Nika started great, leading 4:0 and holding the advantage until the last few seconds when the experienced Pole Aleksandra Kowalczuk turned the fight around and went to the semifinals, winning 5:6.

With the gold at the President's Cup in Albania, Ivan Šapina secured Croatia extra spots in the category up to 87 kilograms, which was completed by his club colleague Josip Bilić Pavlinović. In the first round, Pavlinović won against the Romanian Snacov 23:5, and in the next round, he lost to the third seed, German Bachmann, 9:29.

In the category up to 58 kilograms, Fran Šerer from Ion Zagreb competed in the round of 16 and was stopped by Spaniard Adrian Vicente Yunta (34:14).

The Championship ends on Sunday.

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