Friday, 10 September 2021

President Meets Athletes Who Won Medals at Olympic, Paralympic Games

ZAGREB, 10 Sept 2021 - President Zoran Milanović on Friday received Croatian athletes who won medals at the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, and a delegation of the Croatian Olympic (HOO) and Paralympic Committees, presenting the HOO with the Charter of the Republic of Croatia for its 30th anniversary.

Congratulating the athletes on their medals, Milanović said that they had done a great thing for Croatia.

"You have made us very happy, we followed what you did," he said, expressing regret that other Croatian competitors at the Olympic and Paralympic Games who did not win any medals were not at the reception as well.

"They, too, deserve our respect... Croatia owes you, you have done a beautiful thing for the country," Milanović said.

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Monday, 9 August 2021

Tokyo 2020 Croatia Recap: 8 Olympic Medals, 2nd Most Successful Games in Croatian History

August 9, 2021 - Now that the Olympics Games have ended, a look at the Tokyo 2020 Croatia recap as it was the 2nd most successful Games in Croatian history. 

The Olympic Games in Tokyo are the second most successful Olympics for Croatia in history, reports Slobodna Dalmacija.

Croatia won three gold, three silver, and two bronze medals in Tokyo, taking 26th place in the overall list of medal winners.

Only in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 were Croatian athletes were more successful, winning five gold, three silver, and two bronze medals.

Croatia equaled the number of gold medals in Tokyo with London in 2012. However, two more silver medals were won. 

At the Olympic premiere in Barcelona in 1992, Croatia won three medals - a silver medal for basketball and a bronze medal for Goran Ivanišević in singles and in doubles with Goran Prpić.

Four years later, in Atlanta, Croatia won gold (handball) and silver (water polo), and in Sydney in 2000, weightlifter Nikolai Peshalov celebrated, while rowing won bronze.

Five medals were won in Athens in 2004, including gold in handball, while in Beijing in 2008, Croatia did not win a single gold medal for the second time. Croatia won two silver medals (Blanka Vlašić, Filip Ude) and three bronze medals (Snježana Pejčić, Martina Zubčić, Sandra Šarić) instead.

For the first time, Croatia won more than one gold in London in 2012, when the Olympic winners were water polo, Sandra Perković in the discus throw, and Giovanni Cernogoraz in trap shooting. In London, Croatia also won four silver (David Šain, Martin Sinković, Damir Martin, Valent Sinković) and two bronze medals (handball, Lucija Zaninović).

The most successful Olympics for Croatian athletes were in Rio, with five gold medals and a total of 10 medals won. Gold medals were won by Josip Glasnović (trap), Sandra Perković (discus), Sara Kolak (javelin), Šime Fantela and Igor Marenić (470), and Martin and Valent Sinković (double sculls).

In Tokyo, Croatia won a total of eight medals. Gold was won by taekwondo artist Matea Jelić, the Sinković brothers in coxless pairs, and Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić in tennis doubles.

Silver was won by Tonči Stipanović in laser sailing, tennis doubles team Marin Čilić and Ivan Dodig, and gymnast Tin Srbić, while the bronze was won by taekwondo artist Toni Kanaet and Damir Martin in rowing singles.

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Sunday, 8 August 2021

Croatia Water Polo Finishes Tokyo Olympics in 5th Place

August 8, 2021 - Croatia water polo finished 5th at the Olympic Games in Tokyo after beating the USA 14-11 (2-3, 4-2, 4-2, 4-4) on the last day of the Games.

The "Barracudas" concluded the Olympic tournament with a victory where they broke the USA in the second and third quarters.

Luka Bukić was the most efficient for Croatia with three goals, Xavi Garcia, Ante Vukićević, Maro Joković, and Luka Lončar scored two goals each, and Paulo Obradović, Lovre Miloš, and Marko Macan scored one goal each.

Croatia recorded six wins and two defeats in Tokyo. 

"It is difficult for me at this moment to give an overview of the whole tournament, we recorded six wins and two defeats. That defeat in the quarterfinal against Hungary was painful. Certainly, we are not happy with this, we would have signed before the start to win second place in the group, but no one expected Hungary in the quarterfinal. The draw wanted it that way. The last three or four days here have been really hard and painful for me and the players. But at least we finished the tournament with dignity, as athletes," said the coach Ivica Tucak in his concluding remarks.

The Croatian flag will be carried by the captain of the water polo team, Andro Bušlje, at the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo, on Sunday, August 8 (from noon Croatia time).

Since none of the medal winners stayed until the end of the Tokyo Games, due to the rules for athletes to leave the Olympic venue within 48 hours after the end of the competition, only the Croatia water polo team was left on the last day of the Games.

According to the head of the Croatian delegation in Tokyo, Damir Šegota, the individual choice of the flag bearer was left to the players and the professional staff of the water polo team, and they decided that it would be the long-time captain Andro Bušlje.

Andro is extremely honored and pleased with this choice and thanked his teammates and members of the professional staff to be the Croatian flag bearer at the closing of the Tokyo Games.

Source: HRT

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Saturday, 7 August 2021

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

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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Saturday, 7 August 2021

Croatia Women's Olympic Marathon Runners Take 21st and 53rd Place in Sapporo

August 7, 2021 - On Saturday, two Croatia women's Olympic marathon runners competed in Sapporo, finishing 21st and 53rd place. 

Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir won the Olympic gold medal in the marathon held in Sapporo, while Matea Parlov Koštro took 21st and Bojana Bjeljac 53rd out of the two Croatian representatives that competed, reports HRT.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to move marathon and walking races from Tokyo to northern Sapporo to avoid the summer heat in the Japanese capital. But on Friday, a temperature of 35 degrees Celsius was measured in Sapporo, the same as in Tokyo.

Therefore, the start of Saturday’s marathon was at 6 am local time to avoid the heat. However, the start of the marathon was below 25 degrees and 84% humidity. Two hours later, at 8 am, it was already 29 degrees with 69% humidity.

88 girls appeared at the start, including two Croatian representatives, Matea Parlov Koštro and Bojana Bjeljac.

The track was circular and ran three laps, 22 km, 10 km, and 10 km.

Bjeljac, with a result of 2:27:42 from Valencia in 2019, had the 47th reported result, and Matea Parlov Koštro, with 2:28:52 from Valencia in 2020, had the 72nd result among the 88 girls. The Olympic norm was 2:29:30.

Bjeljac started better and by the middle of the track was ahead of Parlov Koštro, and both were between 40th and 50th position. But Matea was great in the second part of the race. At one point, she broke through to 18th place, and in the end, she finished the marathon in 21st place with a result of 2:33.18, while Bjeljac took 53rd place with a time of 2:39.32.

Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir won gold with a time of 2:27.20, 16 seconds ahead of compatriot Brigid Kosgei, while in third was American Molly Seidel, 26 seconds behind.

Israeli Lonah Chemta Salpeter also fought for the medal up to four kilometers before the finish line but broke at 38 km. In the end, she somehow finished the race in 66th place.

World champion Ruth Chepngetich also hoped for a medal, but she gave up after 33 km.

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Friday, 6 August 2021

Tokyo Olympics: Croatia Defeats Montenegro 12:10, Advances to 5th Place Match on Sunday

August 6, 2021 - Croatia defeats Montenegro in the 5th-8th place playoffs on Friday. Croatia will meet the winner between Italy and the USA in the match for 5th place on Sunday. 

The Croatia water polo team met Montenegro in the playoffs for 5th to 8th place at the Olympic Games in Tokyo on Friday.

After the quarterfinal defeat to Hungary, Croatia has to play two more games for the 5th to 8th place. The first was today against Montenegro, who lost to Greece in the quarterfinals. 

Croatia led the 1st quarter 1:0, while Montenegro came back in the 2nd which ended 5:4 for Croatia. In the 3rd quarter, Croatia and Montenegro were even, ending with 3 goals each. The score going into the final quarter was 9:7 for Croatia. 

Croatia and Montenegro were equal in the final quarter at 3:3 for the final score of 12:10. 

Croatia has already played against Montenegro in Tokyo, recording a victory in the group (13:8), but then it was an important game in the fight to get to the quarterfinals and the stakes were high. Playing for the ranking is something completely different, and after being eliminated in the quarterfinals, the motivation is certainly lower.

Croatia thus plays for 5th place on Sunday against the winner between Italy and the USA. Montenegro will play for 7th place.

"These are now the two worst games ahead of us. They bring nothing, they mean nothing, but we have to play them. We have to try to give as much as we can and try to win. There will be wishes, but we will see how good it will be on both sides," said Barracuda captain Andro Bušlje.

"I don't see the point of all that, we are the only collective sport that plays from the fifth to the eighth place. Unfortunately, the rules are like that and it is our duty to do it to the end," said coach Ivica Tucak.

The semifinal matches are scheduled today in which Greece and Hungary will meet (8:30) and Serbia and Spain (12:50).

Source: HRT

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Thursday, 5 August 2021

Croatian Referee Sanja Rođak-Karšić to Assist in Olympic Women's Football Final

August 5, 2021 - Sanja Rođak-Karšić is the highest-ranking referee in Croatia (1.HNL) in the category 'assistant referees - 1st group'. These are her second Olympic Games after she previously refereed in Rio 2016.

The Olympic women's football final in Tokyo between Sweden and Canada is scheduled for Friday (August 6) at 4 am Croatia time, and there will be a Croatian touch, reports 24 Sata

Namely, the 3rd referee of the match will be Podravske Sesvete native, Sanja Rođak-Karšić (38). The main referee will be Russian Anastasia Pustovidova, while the 2nd referee will be her compatriot Ekaterina Kurochkina.

Rođak-Karšić is the highest-ranking referee in Croatia (1.HNL) in the category 'assistant referees- 1st group', and these are her second Olympic Games after she previously judged in Rio 2016.

In 2020, the Croatian refereed the Champions League final at Anoeta in San Sebastian between Wolfsburg and Lyon, and she refereed the same teams in the final two years earlier in Kyiv.

Rođak-Karšić has already refereed at both the World and European Championships, including the final of the 2017 Euros in the Netherlands. Sanja made waves in Croatia when she became the first woman to referee the Croatian Football Cup final. She first entered the Croatian football scene as the first assistant referee at the HAŠK and Osijek Cup match. A few days later, she was part of the refereeing team in the Croatian First League match between Lokomotiva and Osijek, where she assisted the main referee of the match, Bruno Marić.

The Olympic final will feature Sweden, who celebrated 1:0 against Australia in the semifinal, while Canada shocked the favored U.S.A team with the same result.

FIFA released a list of 99 referees from 51 countries to feature in the Olympic football tournaments, including 29 match officials, 50 assistants, 20 VAR referees, and four additional referees. 

Although Croatia does not have a representative in football at the Olympic Games this year, the country, and especially Podravina, will still be represented on the largest sports platform in the world. 

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Wednesday, 4 August 2021

No Olympic Bronze Medal for Croatian Wrestler Ivan Huklek

August 4, 2021 - Croatian wrestler Ivan Huklek fought in the Olympic bronze medal match in the 87 kg category in Tokyo on Wednesday.  

Ivan Huklek, 24, failed to win the bronze medal at the Games in Tokyo in the 87kg category, where he was defeated 6-1 by naturalized Serbian Zurab Datunashvili.

The three-time and current European champion, who started wrestling under the Serbian flag in 2019, gained a 6-0 advantage in a minute and a half in the first round. Datunashvili brought Huklek to the ground from the counterattack and made three consecutive throws for two points.

In the second round, Huklek managed to earn only one point on the passivity of Datunashvili, and when he got the opportunity to fight on the ground, he failed. 

Huklek was the second wrestler to get the opportunity to fight for an Olympic medal under the Croatian flag, but he, like Božo Starčević in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, lost the fight for the bronze medal.

This was Datunashvili's third appearance at the Olympic Games, and he won a medal for the first time. When he wrestled for his native Georgia, he won seventh place in 2012 in London in the 74kg category, and in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro he was 18th in the 75kg category. Datunashvili won the bronze medal fight in a rematch. 

This medal would have been the first Olympic medal for Croatian wrestling since independence, and the third for Croatian wrestlers. Vlado Lisjak won the Olympic title at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, while Josip Čorak won silver at the 1972 Munich Games.

Ivan Huklek won 5-3 against American John Walter Stefanowicz and Uzbekistan's Rustam Asakalov 4-1 on Wednesday, before losing 1-7 to Ukrainian Jean Belenyuk in the semifinals, while Datunashvili defeated Algerian Bachira Sid Azara 5-1 in the repechage after a loss to Belenyuk in the round of 16 on Wednesday.

Datunashvili was born in Tbilisi, Georgia, and played for that country until 2018, when he changed his citizenship and has since represented Serbia.

Belenjuk and Hungarian Viktor Lorincz will fight for gold in Tokyo.

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Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Croatian Wrestler Ivan Huklek in Olympic Semifinal!

August 3, 2021 - Croatian wrestler Ivan Huklek advanced to the semifinals of the Olympic Games in Tokyo!

Huklek defeated Uzbekistan's Rustam Asakalov 4-1 in the Greco-Roman quarter-final in the 87kg category,  reports HRT.

Huklek thus reached his national team colleague Božo Starčević, who also achieved the greatest success of Croatian wrestling by placing in the semifinals of the Olympic tournament. Starčević did not win a medal in Rio, and Huklek will have two chances to win a medal in Tokyo.

After achieving his first Olympic victory in the round of 16 against US Marine John Walter Stefanowitz by 5-3, he dominated Uzbekistan's Asakalov, a bronze medalist from the 2016 World Champs, in the quarterfinals.

"The first fight against the American was difficult because it was the first fight. Against the Uzbek, I felt I was superior; I realized that superiority and deservedly won. I fought him in Poland two or three months ago and lost, but I wanted him in Tokyo. So the coach and I agreed on excellent tactics against him," said the 24-year-old from Sesvete, who will meet Ukrainian Zhan Belenyuk in the fight for the final.

The 30-year-old Ukrainian is a big favorite for the gold because he is a two-time world champion and Olympic medalist from Rio.

"I've fought him twice already. He's a fighter just waiting for a fight on the ground, and I’m better at standing, so it’s going to be interesting and tense," Huklek said.

At the end of the fight, Ivan looked up and kissed the sky, paying tribute to his sister Marta (11), who passed away this spring, just a few days before Ivan's qualifications for Tokyo.

Ivan Huklel will compete in the semifinals around noon Croatia time.

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Monday, 2 August 2021

Sandra Perković without Medal in Tokyo, Finishes 4th in Olympic Discus Throw

August 2, 2021 - 'Discus Queen' Sandra Perković is without a new medal in Tokyo after finishing 4th in the Olympic discus throw final on Monday. 

After winning the gold in London and Rio, Sandra Perković was after a new Olympic medal in the discus throw in Tokyo on Monday. 

Perković made the final after she was third overall in the qualifiers with a 63.75-meter throw. The best in the qualifiers was American Valarie Allman, who threw 66.42 meters, while Indian Kamalpreet Kaur was second with 63.97.

German Kristin Pudenz threw only two centimeters less than Sandra in Group A, Dutch van Klinken was fourth (61.15), and a big surprise was the poor performance of Cuban Deine Caballero, who was only 22nd with 57.96 meters.

But in the final on Monday, Sandra failed to win her third medal at the Olympics, finishing just outside the podium in 4th instead. 

Her best throw flew to a distance of 65.01 meters, and the medal required 65.72, which was thrown by the bronze Cuban Yaime Perez. The silver medal was taken by the German Kristin Pudenz, who threw the best result in her career (66.86), while American Valarie Allman won the gold, throwing 68.98 meters in the first series.

Sandra opened the final with a score of 62.53, which was the fifth result of the first series, hit the net in the second series, and then there was a break due to a heavy downpour at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.

The break lasted almost an hour, and Sandra returned with a score of 65.01, breaking through to fourth place. Unfortunately, her fourth series saw her throw below 60, and she hit the net in the fifth. In the last attempt, she threw 63.25, which was not enough for a medal.

"I can't say I'm proud; I wasn't on the level. It was a tough competition; that’s no excuse. I'm sorry about the first throw; the disc was full of water, the second shot - you don’t throw like that. Then it started to rain; I came back in the best possible way. We warmed up, cooled down. The circle was not good," Perković began after the final. 

"Allman opened the competition great; that's how it's done. You throw and let them catch you. When it rained, she couldn't do anything either. Congratulations to Germany. Something has bothered me here in Tokyo from the beginning; it’s not up to anyone; it’s up to me. I saw from the beginning that it would not happen."

"The first throw slipped out of my hand, the second was savage, and in the fourth series, water dripped from my discus. That’s not the reason; the season was full of trials for me; I survived them all, I came here. I didn't make this. Paris in 2024 will be different. This is not how any cycle ends, not even mine. I hope it will be better there," she added and continued:

"I don't like fast and stupid laps. These were ridiculous distances; a medal was offered. These are not excuses; it's my fault. Fourth place isn’t bad, but it’s not me. I have to concentrate, go home and move on."

"I wanted 68 meters in the first set. But, unfortunately, the whole season was difficult, the Games were postponed, you have to focus again, look for zeal," she said and concluded:

"I fought as hard as I could. Better luck next time."

It was Sandra's 13th grand final, and only the second she was left without a medal. She celebrated at nine, and so far, the only major competition in which she did not win a medal was her first World Championships in Berlin in 2009. She won gold at the Games in London and Rio.

Croatia had another representative in the women's discus, but Marija Tolj was left without a final by only four centimeters.


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