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.

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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.

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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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Saturday, 14 August 2021

Four Croatian Olympic Medallists From Dalmatia Get Cash Rewards

ZAGREB, 14 Aug, 2021 - The local authorities in Split-Dalmatia County have recently decided to reward the four Olympic medalists, who hail from this Croatian region, and the two of them who were Olympic champions in their events in Tokyo received the highest reward, 25,000 kuna at a ceremony in Split on 9 August.

Those were Matea Jelić, who grabbed the Olympic gold medal in the women's taekwondo 67kg final, and Mate Pavić, who was a member of the Croatian pair that won Olympic men's doubles tennis title.

A reward of 20,000 kuna was given to sailor Tonči Stipanović, who bagged silver in the men's one-person dinghy laser event at the Tokyo Games, while a reward of 15,000 kuna was for the Olympic bronze medallist Toni Kanaet in the taekwondo 80kg men event.

During the 23 July-8 August Olympic Games in Tokyo, Croatia won eight medals: three golds, three silvers and two bronzes.

The latest Croatian Olympic champions are thus taekwondoist Jelić, rowers Valent and Martin Sinković in the men's pair, and the Croatian tennis players -- Pavić and Nikola Mektić -- who won Olympic men's doubles tennis title.

The three silvers were grabbed in the above-mentioned sailing event as well as in the men's doubles tennis event (Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig) and in the men's horizontal bar (Tin Srbić).

Apart from Kanaet, the other bronze medallist was a rower, Damir Martin, who won bronze in the men's single sculls.

Croatia placed 26th out of 93 states in the rankings of medal winners at the 32nd Olympics in Japan while the most successful were U.S. athletes with 39 gold medals, 41 silvers and 33 bronzes won.

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Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Preparations Underway in Knin to Welcome Home Olympic Gold Medalist Matea Jelić

July 27, 2021 - Olympic gold medalist Matea Jelić should expect a welcome reception in her hometown of Knin upon returning from the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Taekwondo fighter Matea Jelić defeated Great Britain's Lauren Williams in the taekwondo gold medal fight at the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Monday, reports Index.hr.

"We are excited and overjoyed because of our Mateja. The whole town watched the fight for gold, but, unfortunately, due to epidemiological measures, we could not organize a joint gathering. However, every house in Knin was with her today," Knin Mayor Marijo Ćaćić told Index, euphoric about the great success of 23-year-old Mateja Jelić from Knin, who defeated Great Britain's Lauren Williams in a dramatic taekwondo final and achieved the greatest success of Croatian taekwondo.

While she is a member of TK Marjan Split today, she made her first steps in the Knin club DIV.

"I am proud of the results we achieve, as well as the great work and effort invested by our coaches and athletes. Mateja's medal is not accidental, and Knin did not accidentally win a gold medal at the Olympics. Congratulations to the professional team from Split Marjan, who continued what started here in Knin. Mateja decided to go to Split to college, and it was logical for her to continue her career in the most trophy-winning club. Marjan Split is celebrating two medals today; we must not forget Toni Kanaet, whom I congratulate on this occasion. I can't even describe how I feel; this is wonderful, although I have to say that we are already used to Mateja's successes. She delighted us eight years ago when she became a junior world champion. She is our queen of Knin. I tried to get her parents, but mother Ljiljana does not want to be in the media; she told me that this is just Mateja's day," the mayor of Knin told Index.

It is known that Matea dreams of a welcome reception in Knin with an Olympic medal around her neck, and Ćaćić confirmed that her dream would surely come true.

"We will prepare a reception for her following epidemiological measures. The situation in Knin is good so far; today, we have no new cases of infection, but only a few people from the same family who contracted COVID-19 earlier. As soon as I contact Mateja's family, we will agree on all details around the reception. We are expecting it in a couple of days, and it will be something special," said the mayor of Knin.

Mateja was accompanied throughout her career by Šibenik-Knin County Prefect Marko Jelić.

"Today, everyone knows who Matea Jelić is and what her name is. Of course, I say it a bit jokingly, but I know very well how much effort she put into getting to the top step of the podium. 

I have known her since she was a child; she went to school with my daughter. She is a top girl, completely focused on what she wants to achieve. Behind her, believe me, is a lot of sacrifices, but she has achieved the goal she set. I'm proud of her. I did not doubt that she would take an Olympic medal one day, and I believed it would be gold. She didn't surprise me at all; I was just afraid that some injury would burden her," Jelić told Index and added:

"Her success means a lot to our Knin. Whoever comes to our city feels love for it, but we who live here feel a little different today. Matea is the European champion, today she is also an Olympic winner and can choose where to spend her free time and create her life. However, she finds her peace in Knin, at the Krčić waterfall. She knows that we were all with her, from the first steps to the Olympic podium," Jelić concluded.

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Monday, 26 July 2021

Matea Jelić Wins Taekwondo Olympic Gold Medal!

July 26, 2021 - Taekwondo fighter Matea Jelić defeated Great Britain's Lauren Williams in the finals of the 67 kg category at the Olympic Games in Tokyo!

It was the duel of the last two European champions in this category - Jelić won gold in Sofia this year, and Williams won gold three years ago in Kazan.

In the uncertain final, the result was 13-13 entering the final minute, but then Williams with two kicks to the body reached an advantage of 17-13. It was 21-15 for Williams until 15 seconds before the end when Jelić managed to reach colossal success with three kicks to the head.

This is the fourth medal for Croatia in the women's taekwondo competition. Before Jelić, bronze medals were won by Sandra Šarić and Martina Zubčić in Beijing in 2008, Lucija Zaninović in London in 2012, and Toni Kanaet earlier on Monday in Tokyo.

TK Marjan Split thus achieved incredible success today in Tokyo! Jelić's gold is the greatest success for Croatian taekwondo at the Olympic Games.

In her first appearance in Tokyo, Jelić defeated Haitian Lauren Lee 22-2, in the quarterfinals Brazilian Milena Titonelli 30-9, and secured a medal with a 15-4 victory against American Paige McPherson in the semis. 

More soon...

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Saturday, 7 December 2019

Matea Jelic and Kristina Tomic Secure Spot at Tokyo Olympics

December 7, 2019 - Matea Jelic (67 kg, Marjan) and Kristina Tomic (49 kg, Osvit) could be joined by Toni Kanaet (80 kg, Marjan) at the Olympic Games next summer. 

Namely, T.portal writes that Split taekwondo club member Marjan Matea Jelic will perform at the Tokyo Olympics next year! This is thanks to Matea’s incredible result at the final Grand Prix in Moscow, with only 16 of the best competing in each Olympic category. 

Matea won the silver medal in the 67-kg  category with an incredible 48 points to jump into third place in the Olympic rankings.

In the first round, she celebrated at the last second against the unfavorable Kazakhstanski athlete Nigora Tursunkulova 10:8, in the quarterfinals she beat three-time European champion, Lauren Wiliams, with a score of 34:32, while in the semifinals she was better than French athlete Magda Wiet Henin 8:7, who has won three European and one world championship medal.

In the final match, Matea lost 14:15 to Ruth Gbagbi, world champion and bronze medalist at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.

After an unfortunate defeat at the last second of the fight for a medal at the World Cup in Manchester, Matea Jelic achieved a fantastic series of top results - the gold at the Grand Prix in Rome, silver at the Grand Prix in Chiba, bronze at the European Championship in Bari and as the icing on the cake, the silver in the Grand Prix final. 

Jelic thus continued the series of placement at the Olympic Games for the Split taekwondo club Marjan, after Ana and Lucia Zaninovic in 2012 in London and 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.

Although Kristina Tomic (49 kg) lost in the second round to Serbian Tiana Bogdanovic, also secured her spot in Tokyo thanks to her total points and victory in the first round against Zeliha Agris (22:14).

Finally, the European champion, Toni Kanaet, who is in the last (sixth) place to get a visa for the Olympics, is just one step away from the same success as Jelic and Tomic. However, for him to secure a spot in Tokyo, his Korean competitor must not be the winner of the Grand Slam series.

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Monday, 4 November 2019

Matea Jelic Secures Croatia's Third Medal at European Taekwondo Championships

November 4, 2019 - A member of Taekwondo Club Marjan in Split Matea Jelic won the third medal for Croatia at the European Championships, this time in the category of up to 67 kilograms. 

T.portal reports that Matea was free in the first round, defeating Russian Karina Zhdanov 14-8 in the second round, and Nadica Bozanic, world junior champion and Olympic junior champion 18-5 in the battle for the medal.

The semifinal of Matea’s category boasted the best of the Taekwondo world, like Nur Tatar, the owner of an incredible ten medals in the last nine years, World and European champion, and the bronze and silver medalist at the London and Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games, Magda Wiet Henin with three world and European medals and two consecutive Grand Prix medals this year and Lauren Williams, two-time European Champion.

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It was the British taekwondo athlete Lauren who celebrated against Matea in the semifinal 12-17, which ultimately secured Jelic the bronze medal. It is the second European medal for Jelic after Montreux in 2016. Recall, she has since been dramatically stopped three times in medal fights at world and European championships.

At the World Championships in Muju in 2017, she lost the gold point to Nur Tatar. At the European Championships in 2018, she broke a bone in her arm against Russian Polina Khan in the fight for the medal, and this year in Manchester at the World Championships, she lost at the last second to Brazil’s Titoneli.

The Croatia national team finished their appearance at the European Senior Championships with three medals - silver medals for Lovro Brecic and Toni Kanaet and a bronze for Matea Jelic. On the last day of the competition in Bari, Ivan Sapina, a bronze medalist from the World Champs this year, lost in the first round fight.

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Toni Kanaet

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Lovre Brecic on the left

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Croatian Taekwondo Team Wins Four Medals At The European Championships

One silver and three bronze medal is this year’s harvest for Croatian Taekwondo team, and the Olympic Games are close.

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