Monday, 7 February 2022

Croatia's Zrinka Ljutić Debuts at 2022 Winter Olympics, Takes 28th in Giant Slalom

February 7, 2022 - Young skier Zrinka Ljutić was the only Croatia representative in the women's giant slalom race at the Winter Olympics in Beijing on Monday, taking 28th place. 

After Covid measures prevented Croatia's best skier Leona Popović from competing, another more experienced skier, Andrea Komšić, was unlucky with her giant slalom performance. While warming up for the race, she experienced a stiff neck and back pain and did not show up for the start of the race, reports HRT.

Zrinka Ljutić was 36th after the first run, 4.94 seconds behind the Olympic winner, Sweden's Sara Hector. After the second run, she was 28th, 8.08 seconds behind Hector. The silver medal was won by Italian skier Federica Brignone (+0.28), and the bronze by Swiss skier Lara Gut-Behrami (+.0.72).

"I am not satisfied with how I fell behind, and I did not ride well, although I did not have the feeling that I was that far behind. However, the conditions are excellent, and I’m really sorry I didn’t take advantage of that. This is a new experience for me, and I hope to be smarter on another occasion," the 18-year-old Ljutić commented on her Olympic debut in Beijing, adding:

"The first ride was not great, and I didn't have that feeling when I was skiing. I actually felt fine, even though I had a lot of speed, so I was shocked when I reached the finish line. I later realized how much more I needed to let go, look for more speed, and go a lot cleaner and more direct. Then I tried to fix all those things in the second run, and I really threw myself on my head. I’m glad I managed to connect at least a couple of good turns in some places where I didn’t get in the first run. I’m 28th, which doesn’t sound bad. In a couple of years, no one will remember that half of them dropped out. I entered 28th. I learned a lot; a lot of work awaits me."

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Monday, 7 February 2022

Croatia Snowboarder Lea Jugovac Misses Olympic Debut Due to Anti-Covid Measures in Beijing

February 7, 2022 - Croatia snowboarder Lea Jugovac missed her Olympic debut in Beijing on Sunday due to anti-covid measures. The Croatian Olympic Committee has sent an appeal to the Organizing Committee of the Beijing Games.

Sunday did not see any performances by Croatia representatives at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, but there is no lack of excitement in the Croatia camp. In addition to daily testing and training, the day was marked by a protest letter from the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) to the Organizing Committee of the Beijing Games against the unacceptable ant-covid procedures, which left Croatia snowboarder Lea Jugovac without her Olympic debut.

The contents of the letter were also presented to the International Olympic Committee (IOC). It was signed by the heads of the COC Mission at the Beijing Winter Olympics, Damir Šegota and Petra Nosso. Along with the letter, an appendix was sent in the form of a report by the coach of the Croatian snowboarder, Darko Bilen.

The protest letter can be read in its entirety below:

Dear Sirs/Madam,

We are writing this letter to bring your attention to the sad incident that happened yesterday evening and night to our athlete during and after the Opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympic Games.

The clumsy procedure that dictated that athletes have to be tested 24 hours before the Opening ceremony, to ensure that everyone present is uninfected, obviously have been fruitless because the unacceptable procedure that followed prevented our athlete from attending the Opening ceremony, as well as today's competition.

Just before the delegation entered the stadium, she was removed from the parade, which shocked her and the coach. Supposedly she was positive? After re-testing in Beijing, the athlete was returned to the accommodation only at 3 am, and the negative test result came after 4 am, which resulted in the decision not to perform the next day at 10 am.

Due to all the above, we believe that BOCOG should apologize to the athlete who was not only prevented from participating in the Opening ceremony, but also from performing at the Games. The procedures performed by BOCOG were unacceptable, the athlete was mentally struck by it all, the procedure itself and the inhumane conditions in which she found herself last night denied her performance at the Games. A detailed description of the whole incident can be found in the attachment.

Should you require any further clarification, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Saturday, 5 February 2022

Valentina Aščić Makes History: First Croatian Speed Skater Competes at Winter Olympics!

February 5, 2022 - Valentina Aščić was not only the first Croatia representative to compete in Beijing, but she became the first-ever Croatian to compete in speed skating at the Winter Olympics! 

Valentina Aščić is the first Croatia representative to compete at the Winter Olympics in Beijing and the first-ever Croatian to compete in speed skating! 

The 23-year-old Zagreb native fulfilled her dream. Valentina Aščić performed at the Winter Olympics in Beijing, in a discipline where Croatia was represented for the first time in its history. Aščić had her first appearance in the 500 meters race, and in a strong competition, she failed to book a spot in the quarterfinals.

Aščić performed immediately in the first group in respectable company with Florence Brunelle of Canada, Selma Poutsma of the Netherlands, and Tifany Huot Marchand of France.

Aščić finished third in the group with a time of 44,681 after the Frenchwoman fell in the middle of the race and dropped out. The two best from each of the eight groups and four other best third-place finishers went to the quarterfinals. 

Aščić was 23rd out of the 32 speedskaters in today's race. She could have hoped to advance but depended on the result of other skaters. After the sixth group, she was overtaken by four third-placed competitors, leaving the Croatian Olympian without a chance for the quarterfinals. 

"When I went out on the ice, it seemed like a dream, but I managed to recover. I am delighted with the result, so I somehow planned to be around 20th place. I had a great start and was third already at the start, but I was a little disturbed by one girl's fall due to contact, which is in our sport, and then a repeat start. I can go much faster; I just needed a little better preparation because I skated on this ice for the first time," said Aščić after her debut.

The KBK Meteor Zagreb member, currently the only speed skating club in Croatia, is expected to perform in the 1500 meters on February 16. 

Aščić has been training in Belgium since the Zagreb earthquake, with Dutch coach Ingmar van Riel. She had been waiting a long time to go to Beijing. Namely, as she was recently infected with COVID-19, she had to have four negative PCR tests before boarding a plane to China. She arrived just two days before the race.

Source: HOO

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Wednesday, 22 December 2021

Matea Jelić and Tonči Stipanović Named Croatia's Best Athletes in 2021

December 22, 2021 - Olympic taekwondo gold medalist Matea Jelić and Olympic sailing silver medalist Tonči Stipanović were named Croatia's best athletes in 2021 by the Croatian Olympic Committee,

The awards were presented at the Great Day of Croatian Sports celebration in the Crystal Hall of The Westin in Zagreb.

In addition to the Olympic gold in Tokyo, Jelić also won the European champion title. In addition to winning the Olympic silver again in the Laser class, Stipanović also won the bronze at the World Championships in Barcelona. Interestingly, both were named Athletes of the Year in 2020 when Jelić shared the award with judoka Karla Prodan.

Jelić won the award in the competition of nine athletes, while Stipanovic was up against 11 competitors.

"It is a great honor for me to receive this award; I am aware of the great name of the athletes who stood here before me. I hope that in the years to come, I will prove that I am worth even more," said the young Matea Jelić from Knin.


Slobodan Kadic

"Last year, I was also named the best athlete, but everything was online. So I just now saw how beautiful all this is. I hope to win this award for a few more years," Matea added with a smile.

Stipanović pointed out that he was proud of winning the award against strong competition.

"I am proud of this award. I know that it was not easy for the COC, despite all these great results, in such a successful year for Croatian sports," Stipanović emphasized.

"I hope that during the next Olympic cycle, I will have another opportunity to address you from here," he added.

According to the Croatian Olympic Committee criteria, rowing brothers Martin and Valent Sinković, Olympic winners and European champions in the coxless pairs and overall World Cup winners, defeated the best tennis pair in the world, Olympic and Wimbledon winners Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić, in the selection for the best pair, relay or crew.


Slobodan Kadic

Brothers Martin and Valent Sinković were among the award winners for the 11th time in the last 12 elections. From 2010 to 2013, they won the award three times as part of the trophy foursome and eight times as doubles (three times in doubles and five times in coxless pairs). In addition, Pavić and Mektić were awarded the prize for "the greatest sports promoters in the world."

"I want to thank coach Bralić because, without him, we would not be able to win all these years," said Martin, adding: "It was something special, another Olympic gold, but we are still hungry for the future."

His brother Valent wanted to thank those he had never thanked before:

"The mission of the Croatian Olympic Committee, the people who are with us at the Olympics. They make sure we don’t miss anything, and sometimes it’s not easy with us athletes. Especially in this pandemic year."

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Tuesday, 20 July 2021

5-7 Olympic Medals Expected for Croatia in Tokyo, Says Siniša Krajač

July 20, 2021 - Croatian Olympic Committee Secretary-General Siniša Krajač revealed the main challenges that the COC and he personally will face in his current term as the first operative of the umbrella sports association and what we can expect from Croatia in Tokyo this summer. 

In an interview with Sportske Novosti, Siniša Krajač revealed to editor-in-chief Robert Šola that demography is a burning national problem and a potentially big problem for the future of Croatian sport because "the base from which we draw sports talents is getting smaller." In this context, he also mentioned the importance of constant investment in sports, especially in sports at the local level, "where it all starts," that is - where future top athletes come to us to a large extent. He spoke with a lot of passion about team sports and pointed out that Croatia is a sports nation with great achievements in individual sports.

The Olympic Games (July 23 - August 8) are an indispensable topic when Croatian athletes are heading to Tokyo every day. With a strong desire for all our representatives to stay healthy during the Games, the Secretary-General estimated the number of Olympic medals in Tokyo, which ranges from five to seven medals. Siniša Krajač is very optimistic about Tokyo, although a slightly smaller number of athletes will represent Croatia.

"We are going for 5 to 7 medals: Alarms are set in sports, but the situation is not tragic, in a small base of the sports active population we have no right to drop a single talented child," writes Robert Šola, editor-in-chief of SN.

Most of the Croatian athletes are already in Tokyo, and the rest will follow them very soon. 

"A positive case on a plane can mean goodbye to an athlete and everything they have worked and prepared for years to be at the peak of their career in Tokyo. But, unfortunately, that cannot be changed; Japan has their own approach to everything that has to do with COVID," says Siniša Krajač, who has acted as Secretary-General Secretary of the Croatian Olympic Committee for two months now.

Croatia will have the smallest number of athletes at the Games since Barcelona. Should we be worried?

"As I emphasized in my first interviews after I became Secretary-General, we need to worry about the fact that our sport is in decline and that there is a real danger that this decline will take a more vertical direction than we have today. Not because we are not doing well, or because we do not care about sports, but also because we have an obvious shortage of coaches and young people who play sports. We must all be aware that only about 400,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 19 live in the country at the moment. It is a minimal base, and we have to draw future Olympic winners, medalists, and participants. In such a small base, we have almost no right to drop a single talented child, which means that we must provide our children with optimal conditions for playing sports. Of course, as a state, we must work on the demographics of society because the trend is by no means good."

Unfortunately, Croatia has dealt with demography issues for years, but taking care of sports is not even close to good. Only 59 athletes at the Games also bring a lot of concern?

"The handball players were a second or two away from the Games; if they were in Tokyo, the numbers would already be similar to those in Rio. And we will agree that handball players have a place at the Games. I am also sorry for the basketball players; we constantly hope that basketball will rise and return to where it belongs. But I am aware of the problems we have in sports; I would say that the alarm is already burning and that there is no tragedy. And this number of athletes in Tokyo is respectable and has a high quality."

How can the COC help address such issues?

"We are specific in ourselves because we have an extensive range of activities. Top sport, local sport and recreation, are our three core activities. Athletes, however, are created at the local level, it is clear to everyone in the sport. And we, as the COC, have long been aware of this. I would say that the state is aware of that as well. The Ministry of Tourism and Sports has increased allocations for local sports. Both the state and the COC encourage local communities to invest more in sports; we are working on that synergy without which there can be no results. We work to the maximum to bring back to local communities sports that were specific in their environment, in which they had top results. Times are changing, but this tradition in local communities is still strong, and I am convinced that a lot can be done and returned to the old, and even for the better."

Siniša Krajač talked about team sports with a lot of passion, but also turned to individual sports.

"I would by no means put individual sports in second; we have risen strongly in them, laid a healthy foundation, they bring us medals, but also children who enjoy doing these sports. Judo has a great run, karate, and taekwondo too, and there are plenty more good examples."

Unfortunately, some claim that investing in sports is a waste of money?

"Investing in sports cannot be a waste of money; it can only be a great investment. Sport certainly contributes far more to society and the common good than we invest in it. This can be proven through many parameters. We are evidently falling for several health issues. We have an excessive percentage of obese and inactive children, which is probably the most dangerous and saddest thing for any nation and its health. We don’t have enough physical activities in schools; some don’t even have gyms. And it’s something that can’t be resolved overnight, but it has to start to be addressed. And that systematically. Let's invest in sports because there is no greater investment in health. We as a state must understand that. Sport also brings numerous economic privileges. With the matches come athletes, spectators, foreign clubs come to the preparations ... Not to repeat that athletes are our greatest ambassadors in the world, and we know they are."

How many medals are expected at the Games?

"Five to seven. I wouldn’t want to name what those medals are; I don’t want to pressure anyone. In Tokyo, the conditions for athletes will be truly extraordinary, far different from those they are used to. Such conditions will require quick adaptation, and our athletes are such that they do their best in the most difficult moments, to surprise when it is least expected. We have a talent for adaptation, I would say perhaps the best in the world because we are such a nation. After all, we are masters of improvisation. Our athletes know what awaits them. The Americans waited at the airport for six hours upon arrival to be released. On the other hand, ours did not sleep for 40 hours, except for a little on the plane. And when you land, there are problems, waiting, testing, uncertainty, completed or unfilled applications." 

And at the end of it all, no fans?
"Sport is also played for the sake of spectators, but health should be a priority at this moment. The games always have a special atmosphere in the village, in the host city, in the indescribable atmosphere that reigns in the halls and stadiums. Unfortunately, now that is not the case ... But the Games will be held; sports will not be surrendered."

You can read the full interview HERE

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Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Croatian Olympic Committee President Attacks Tokyo Organizers Over Marinić Isolation

July 14, 2021 - Croatian Olympic Committee president Zlatko Mateša has criticized the Tokyo organizers after Croatian canoeist Matija Marinić ended up in self-isolation. 

"The system in Tokyo is unsustainable, we ask the IOC to protect athletes," said the president of the Croatian Olympic Committee, Zlatko Mateša, after Matija Marinić, the first Croatian athlete to arrive in Tokyo for the Olympic Games, ended up in self-isolation, reports HRT.

The best Croatian whitewater canoeist came to Japan a week ago, and received the decision on Tuesday morning that he must spend the next week in quarantine. Namely, there was an infected passenger on the flight Marinić and his coach Stjepan Perestegi took to Japan.

Matija Marinić was vaccinated, he has no symptoms, and he has ten days of daily coronavirus testing behind him, eight of which he did in Japan, but still had to end up in self-isolation.

"This system is simply unsustainable. What is the benefit to an athlete staying in Japan and spending time in isolation, with a lot of testing and evidence that he is not infected? The Olympic Games have already been lost for our Matija Marinić, even if he performed at them, as planned from July 25. Who can compensate him for the years of training and preparation, effort and sacrifice that he invested for his first Olympic appearance?" said Zlatko Mateša.

"This is a glaring example of the inability of the organizers to deal with the problems associated with the pandemic. We ask the International Olympic Committee to protect athletes who prove their health status by daily tests and not to be subjected to such rigorous and unfounded measures, because then everything loses its meaning," the COC president added.

The COC appealed the self-isolation decision for Marinić, and the Deputy Head of the COC Mission Petra Nosso explained that Marinić and his coach Stjepan Perestegi were in self-isolation based on their seats printed on their airline tickets. According to them, they were sitting close to the infected passenger. 

However, as they did not sit in those seats in the end, they were quite far from a potential source of infection.

Nosso added that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is trying to resolve this case through talks with a partner organizer - the Japanese government, which in such cases should be above the authority of a particular prefecture.

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Monday, 12 July 2021

Croatian Olympic Committee Bids Farewell to Athletes Going to Tokyo!

July 12, 2021 - The Croatian Olympic Committee held a farewell ceremony in Zagreb for the athletes departing to Tokyo. 

As the first large group of Croatian athletes departs for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) traditionally organized a farewell ceremony for the Olympians and those who will become Olympians.


Slobodan Kadic

The ceremony was held on Monday, July 12, 2021, at 13.30 in the Crystal Hall of The Westin Hotel in Zagreb, the same hall where at the end of each year, the Croatian Olympic Committee proclaims and awards the country's sports heroes over the past 365 days.


Slobodan Kadic

In addition to athletes (Barbara Matić, Karla Prodan, Ivana Maranić, Damir Martin, Valent, and Martin Sinković, Šime and Mihovil Fantela, Elena Vorobeva, Toni Kanaet, Matea Jelić, Ivan Šapina, Kristina Tomić) and their coaches, the ceremony was attended by numerous sports dignitaries: Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac, IOC member from Croatia Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, and Ambassador of Japan to Croatia HE E. Misako Kaji.


Slobodan Kadic

The host of the event is the president of the Croatian Olympic Committee, Zlatko Mateša, and the general secretary Siniša Krajač. Thanks to Sports Television (SPTV), sports fans from all over Croatia could see the event live.

After the official confirmation from the Croatian Athletics Federation (HAS) that high jumper Ana Šimić and discus thrower Marija Tolj have been included in the list of athletes who will perform at the Olympic Games in Tokyo (July 23 - August 8, 2021), the Office for the Olympic Program of the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) published the final list of Croatian Olympic hopes.

The list includes 58 athletes from 15 sports. However, there is only one team among them - the water polo team, which has the right to register 12 players and one reserve.

The number of athletes for the Olympic Games in Tokyo is the lowest since the premiere performance of Croatian Olympians under their own flag - in Barcelona in 1992 when there were 41 of them from 12 sports. The record is still held by the London 2012 Games, with 107 athletes from 18 sports.

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Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Croatia Olympic Uniforms Presented 100 Days Before Tokyo Games (PHOTOS)

April 14, 2021 - The Croatia Olympic uniforms have been presented 100 days before the Games occur in Tokyo this summer! 

In anticipation of the Olympic Games in Tokyo (July 23 - August 8, 2021), the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) marked a hundred days before their opening with a short ceremony in the area next to the Zagreb fountains.

The event was organized following current epidemiological measures. It was enhanced by Japan's ambassador to Croatia, HE E. Misako Kaji, Vice President of the Croatian Olympic Committee Sanda Čorak, the experienced rowing Olympian Damir Martin and two debutants - taekwondo fighter Kristina Tomić and swimmer Franko Grgić.

"We must be aware that it took extraordinary effort and perseverance of athletes and their coaches, clubs, and federations, all to ensure an Olympic appearance. We are looking forward to the Games in Tokyo, regardless of the unusual circumstances. The most important thing is that a whole generation of athletes will get a chance to realize their sports dream, and we are especially looking forward to the performance of our representatives," said the vice president of the Croatian Olympic Committee and president of the Croatian Judo Federation Sanda Čorak.

The light effects above the fountain sent a message of togetherness on the way to achieving Olympic continuity by holding safe Games this summer, and white lanterns were released as a symbol of good luck for the Tokyo Games.

"The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games start in 100 days. Despite everything, the organizers and hosts from the local community are working hard to prepare for the Games. They are held as a symbol of diversity and global unity, proof of overcoming the pandemic and rebuilding the country after earthquakes and tsunamis. Viewers around the world will participate in the Tokyo 2020 Games through IT technologies. Well done to the Croatian Olympians and Paralympians; let's head to the sun! The cities of Tokamachi and Marugame, as well as the whole of Japan, await you warmly," is the message of Ambassador Kaji.

The Olympic hero from Rio 2016, Damir Martin, returned to the rowing elite after an injury.

"I am a big supporter of holding the Olympic Games in Tokyo, even if they are the most unusual so far. If they did not take place, many athletes would go eight years without achieving their Olympic ambitions. That is why I am preparing for the Tokyo Games with great optimism, and I believe in their success. I also believe that I will be personally successful in my third Olympic appearance," said rower Damir Martin, who is also the Croatian Olympic Committee vice president.

In addition to participating in the event as ambassadors of the COC's "To the Sun" campaign, Olympic debutants Kristina Tomić and Franko Grgić, together with Damir Martin, promoted the 4F Olympic collection for the Tokyo Games. Praising the Olympic collection, they emphasized its airiness and elasticity.

The Croatian Olympians will perform in Tokyo in the dynamic equipment of the Polish company 4F, with recognizable red and white checkers of various sizes. Attention was also paid to Japanese symbolism, such as the motif of a circle (in this case - the rising sun) on zippers and size labels. Due to the Tokyo climate, fabrics of reduced weight were used, with a well-thought-out design and choice of colors for the female and male collection.

"When it comes to athletes' performances at the Olympic Games, we are aware of the importance and the smallest details. That’s why we’ve focused on lightweight materials with high breathability, which ensures great comfort when used. When designing and creating the collection, we did not forget to consider the issue of sustainability, hence the high percentage of recycled materials in the collection, mostly European production," explained the chief designer of the Olympic collection Wojciech Harus.

Marking "100 days to Tokyo", the Croatian Olympic Committee organized a photoshoot of Olympians at the Zagreb Fire Brigade as a link between firefighters' exceptional efforts during last year's earthquake in Zagreb and national sports heroes. On that occasion, more than 20 Olympians premiered the new Olympic collection for Tokyo, and all of them rated it as very high quality and comfortable to wear.

One hundred days before Tokyo, Croatia has 40 Olympic candidates (from 11 sports), 28 in individual sports, and 12 in team sports (water polo). A dozen more individual athletes are expected (cycling, boxing, judo, karate, archery, tennis) and possibly another team - basketball. The optimistic estimate is that around 65 athletes will wear the new Olympic collection 4F at the Tokyo Games - Together to the sun. 

Source: HOO

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Tuesday, 22 December 2020

Croatian Olympic Committee Names Women's Handball Best Team in Croatia, Šoštarić Coach of Year

December 22, 2020 - At the end of the year, the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) traditionally concludes with selecting the most successful athletes and trainers and awards special recognitions to deserving people in sport.

HRT reports that in the COVID-19 pandemic year, the picture of Croatian sport also looked significantly different from previous years because epidemiological measures affected the delays and cancellations of competitions and the training processes of athletes. COC's data revealed that out of the planned 1,089 competitions, only 230 (21 percent) were held in 2020.

That is why the traditional celebration of the Great Day of Croatian Sports this year was not held as normal, with togetherness and socializing in the Crystal Hall of the Westin Hotel and the presentation of awards and recognitions to the laureates.

The solution instead was a pre-recorded television show, realized by Sports Television and premiered by Croatian Television.

In a review of the outgoing year, the President of the Croatian Olympic Committee, Zlatko Mateša, emphasized our athletes' indomitable spirit.

"Despite all the troubles caused by the spread of coronavirus in sports, Croatian athletes have shown that they are stronger than the pandemic, so even in these abnormal conditions, they managed to achieve world-class results," said Mateša.

According to the COC's record of medals won, which are announced to the public at the end of each year by the COC Secretary General Josip Cop, Croatian athletes won a total of 93 medals at major competitions in 2020 at all ages (26 gold, 26 silver, and 41 bronze).

The most impressive individual achievements, according to the criteria of the Croatian Olympic Committee, were achieved by the athlete of the year, the bronze medalist sailor from the World Laser Championship Tonči Stipanović, and senior bronze in judoka and silver medalist from the junior European Championships, Karla Prodan, who shares the title of the most successful female athlete with the taekwondo silver medalist from the European Championships and an obvious candidate for the Tokyo Olympics, Matea Jelić.

In selecting the best men's team and women's team of the year, it's all about handball - the men's national team won the silver at the European Championships and were joined by the phenomenal women's national team who sensationally won the European bronze medal in Denmark.

At the wings of that success, the women's handball coach Nenad Šoštarić also earned the title of coach of the year, together with the previously selected sailing expert Jozo Jakelić.

The best crew was awarded to the Sinkovic Brothers, who won the European silver in rowing.

Because of less competition in the nominations for the most successful athletes and teams, this year, the COC awarded four Special Awards for Sports Achievements, which were given to the athletes who have achieved the largest number of nominations in the last decade. 

They were won by archer Ivana Buden, diver Goran Čolak and the women's sea fishing national team, and the men's crossbow national team.

The laureates of the Matija Ljubek Award, which the Croatian Olympic Committee awards to lifetime achievements in sport, are led this year by Predrag Sloboda, whose leadership in the Croatian Water Polo Federation the senior national team helped to win an abundance of trophies, among them Olympic, world and Mediterranean gold.

Professor Ivan Pal comes from Koprivnica as a laureate, a coach responsible for the European rise of RK Podravka (the title of European champions from 1996), and numerous other successes. Along with them is the legend of volleyball Ivica Jelić, who has valuable trophies in his collection as a player and as a coach.

The list of meritorious people in sport is completed by the basketball great, triple Olympian, and multiple national, European, and world champion Damir Šolman. As a laureate of the Matija Ljubek Award, this year is KK Split, a club celebrated by Šolman in his playing time, which peaked its glory with the triple crown of the European club champion (1989, 1990, 1991).

The COC award for fair play deservedly went to a 16-year-old volleyball player from Umag, Ema Stikić, who made a correct gesture at the national cadet championship in her club's quarterfinal match with Rijeka. In the dramatic outcome of the duel, while playing point for point, Ema Stikić correctly admitted her contact with the net in a point, which meant the defeat of her team (2-3) and the passage of Rijeka to the semifinals.

The Croatian Football Television (HNTV) awarded the recognition for the greatest promoter of sports to the Croatian Football Television (HNTV). In contrast, the largest promoter of Croatian sports in the world was not elected this year.

With congratulations to all the winners, the Croatian Olympic Committee leaders wished Croatian athletes a Merry Christmas and many more opportunities for training and performances, and that means for new great successes - in the 2021 Olympics.

The first ladies of sports and Olympism in Croatia - Minister of Sport and Tourism Nikolina Brnjac and Croatian member of the IOC Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović also sent their best wishes.

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Thursday, 11 June 2020

Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic Nominated for Member of International Olympic Committee

June 11, 2020 - Former Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarovic could become a new member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), whose Executive Committee nominated a total of five new members of the international umbrella sports organization on Wednesday.

T.portal writes that according to the official website of the International Olympic Committee, five candidates have been nominated by the Executive Board of that organization: Maria de la Caridad Colón Ruenes from Cuba, Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud from Saudi Arabia, Battushig Batbold from Mongolia, famous athlete Sebastian Coe from Great Britain and Kolinda Grabar Kitarović from Croatia.

Candidates were selected by a special commission, and the final decision will be made at a virtual session on July 17, 2020.

IOC President Thomas Bach said the selection of these five candidates would benefit the entire Olympic movement because of their skills and expertise.

"By nominating three female candidates, the IOC is once again demonstrating its commitment to promoting gender equality among its leadership," the statement said.

The International Olympic Committee is a non-profit international organization made up of volunteers, dedicated to building a better world through sport, the IOC said at the end of the statement, adding that the IOC redistributes more than 90 percent of its revenues to the wider sports movement, which means that every day the equivalent of $ 3.4 million goes to help athletes and sports organizations at all levels around the world.

According to the Croatian Encyclopedia, the IOC is the organization that manages the Olympic movement, and its main task is to ensure the regular holding of the Olympic Games, to supervise their preparations and implementation. It also has the exclusive right to decide on the Olympic flag, anthem and symbols. It was founded in 1894 in Paris, and since 1914 has been based in Lausanne.

IOC members are elected from among nationals of countries with a recognized National Olympic Committee and they are not representatives of their countries in the IOC, but are representatives of the IOC in their countries. At the beginning of the 21st century, 202 national committees were members of the IOC. The executive board consists of a president, vice president and 10 members, writes the Croatian Encyclopedia.

Biographies with photos of nominated members can be seen here.

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