Thursday, 29 July 2021

Gold Medal Match Between Croatian Players for the First Time Ever!

July 29, 2021 - Historic! An unthinkable and spectacular event has happened today not only in Croatian sports history but also in the Olympic Games. Mate Pavić and Nikola Mektić have won today and there will be a Gold Medal Match between Croatian players in Tokyo 2020!

The morning got off to a great start for Croatia at the Olympics, after the couple Marin Cilić and Ivan Dodig beat their New Zealand rivals in the semi-final, thus securing at least one medal for their country. But in recent days, everyone was closely following the fact that two pairs of Croatian tennis players reached the semifinals, as the brand-new champions of the doubles category at Wimbledon, Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić, had also managed to reach those instances.

With the four Croatian tennis players in the semifinals, a bronze medal was already confirmed for the Croatian delegation. But with today's victory for Cilić and Dodig (6-2, 6-2) over their New Zealand counterparts Daniell and Venus, Croatia had already secured at least one silver medal. Even before it happened, everyone was wondering, "What if there was a final between Croats?".

And that's how it went from imagination to reality. Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić defeated their American rivals Krajicek and Sandgren (6-4, 6-4), and Croatia thus secured a gold and silver medal in tennis in the doubles category, in what will be an unprecedented and exciting Croatian Gold Medal match in a tennis final.

To reach the grand final, Mektić and Pavić had to beat Brazilians Demoliner and Merlo in a close match (7-6, 6-4) in the first round. They then beat the Italians Musetti and Sonego in the second round, also in a difficult match (7-5, 6-7, 10-7). This earned them qualification for the quarterfinals, where they beat the locals McLachlan and Nishikori (6-3, 6-3). At this point, the dream of the Olympic medal was already approaching, with the Croatian tennis players in the semifinals. Today they beat Americans Austin Krajicek and Tennys Sandgren 6-4 in both sets, in a match that lasted 1 hour and 21 minutes.

Mektić and Pavić, the best tennis pair of today, have 51 victories and only five defeats this year. They both arrived in Tokyo as the recent champions of the Wimbledon doubles tournament this month.

Croatian sport reaches a historic moment with the first tennis doubles final between Croatian players, something that, although it is not the first time in the history of the Olympic Games, happened only in 1904 between American players and for the last time four years later, in 1908 between British players. So it has been 113 years since this incredible gold medal match feat was not attested.

The game is scheduled for tomorrow, and although the exact time is not yet confirmed, it is believed that it will be played around 8, after the bronze match between New Zealanders and Americans.

It is true that, although four Croatian tennis players will compete for first place, only two of them will be able to win the long-awaited gold medal. However, it can be said from now on that, regardless of the result, it is a historic moment and a great joy for Croatian tennis and sport in general. Congratulations to Mate Pavić, Marin Cilić, Nikola Mektić, and Ivan Dodig for the success!

To follow the latest sports news in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

To learn more about the history of sport in Croatia and everything about its most famous athletes, be sure to check Total Croatia's guide.

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 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, 25 February 2020

Over 90 Croatian Athletes Expected to Compete in Tokyo Olympics

February 25, 2020 - In exactly five months, the 32nd Olympic Games will begin in Tokyo. Croatian athletes will try to surpass the record-breaking Rio Games in 2016, when they won an incredible ten medals, five of which were gold, three silver, and two bronze. There are 110 Croatian athletes in the Tokyo Olympic Program. reports that the fantastic pictures from four years ago, featuring Sandra Perkovic, the Sinkovic brothers, Josip Glasnovic, Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic, as well as the sensational Sara Kolak, have not yet faded. But soon, new Olympic thrills await us. We believe there will be new medals, too.

For the first time since 2008, the Croatia table tennis team will compete in the Olympic Games.

"I would just like to avoid China, everyone else we can handle,” wished Andrej Gacina.

"We are preparing in our heads to try to surprise everyone," Neven Karkovic said.

The Croatia handball team has yet to qualify for Tokyo and will fight to win a spot at the strong qualifying tournament in France. In addition to the hosts, Croatia will play against Portugal and Tunisia. The two best teams will go to Japan.

The Croatia water polo team will also fight for a spot at the Games in the Netherlands. Their opponents will be Germany, Russia, the Netherlands, Argentina, and an Asian representative. The top four teams from each group will play in the quarterfinals. The winners will go to the semifinals, and the three top-ranked teams will qualify for Tokyo.

The Croatia basketball team needs to qualify, too and will play a qualifying tournament in Split against Brazil and Tunisia. If Croatia tops the group, they will play either Germany, Russia or Mexico. The top two teams go to the semifinals, with only the winner of the tournament going to Tokyo.

"I believe they will qualify, and we count on having between 90 and 105 Croatian athletes in Tokyo," said Zlatko Matesa, president of the Croatian Olympic Committee.

For the first time in her career, Kristina Tomic will compete in taekwondo, a sport that has already brought Croatia three Olympic medals.

"I will only say that my goal is no longer to go there as a tourist but to do something there," Kristina said confidently.

Form will play a significant role, and shot-putter Filip Mihaljević wants only one thing - to be healthy for Tokyo.

"I'm slowly joining the best in the world and hoping to make it to the finals."

Unfortunately, T.portal reported on Tuesday that the Olympic dream has ended for Robert Seligman, who will not be able to compete in the remaining two Olympic qualifying tournaments in Baku and Doha, as X-rays show he has broken his middle finger.

Seligman injured his hand on Saturday while practicing in the Melbourne World Cup final. Doctors in Australia immediately positioned and bandaged the dislocated finger, but the footage upon returning to Croatia confirmed the worst news. Robert Seligman has completed his Tokyo Olympic dream.

"We hoped it was just strained, but my finger is broken. Unfortunately, my dream of Tokyo is over. I have to rest for three weeks, which means I will miss the next two qualifying tournaments. But, I will train everything that does not interfere with my hand and stay in shape so that I can be fully prepared by May for the World Cup in Varna and, most importantly, the European Championship in Baku,” Seligman explained.

In Rio, Croatian athletes won a record ten medals. It is a feat that will be difficult to achieve, though our sports heroes have repeatedly shown that they are not afraid of the challenge.

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

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Olympic Qualifying Basketball Tournament in Split Officially Presented

February 19, 2020 - The Olympic qualifying tournament in Split is the last chance to fight for a spot in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Croatia national team has a slight advantage, as they will be playing in front of a home crowd.

HKS reports that one of the four Olympic qualifying basketball tournaments will be played in Split from June 23 to 28 at the Spaladium Arena. Croatia will fight against the national teams of Germany, Russia, Tunisia, Mexico and Brazil for a spot in Tokyo.

"The tournament in Split is one big event and promotion not only for basketball but for the whole of Croatia. We hope for a good atmosphere and once again thank the Government of the Republic of Croatia, the City of Split and Split-Dalmatia County. We hope that the team will be complete and that everyone will be healthy and we can look forward to the Olympic Games. We are about to begin qualifying for the European Championships that await us in 2021. On Friday, we play against Sweden, after which we play with the Netherlands. These two games are extremely important for us. After that, we expect the HT Premier League championship finals, and then we are preparing for this tournament.”

All fans looking to cheer on Croatia in Split can purchase tickets from February 26 through

“The Split tournament is, in my opinion, the most important event in Croatian sport in 2020, and the importance and weight are in the opponents, system and organization. FIBA has risen to a higher level of quality since EuroBasket in 2015. We recognized this tournament as a top event that has the opportunity to be played in Croatia. I want to take this opportunity to thank the Prime Minister and the Government of the Republic of Croatia for recognizing this. What awaits us in Split is the ultimate spectacle for all sports fans, especially basketball. Until the tournament, we will work on the animation and promotion of basketball and take this opportunity to raise basketball to another level,” said the Secretary-General of the Croatian Basketball Federation, Josip Vranković.

Qualifying for the Olympic Games and representing their country is a dream of all athletes, which guarantees that exciting basketball awaits us in Split. The Croatia national team will have a slight advantage as they will have support from the Split stands.

‘’I hope we can show a good game in front of our home crowd on Friday and win. We expect that the Drazen Petrovic hall will be packed to the last place and that together with our fans, we will have a positive atmosphere before this last Euro qualifier against the Netherlands and before the Olympic tournament in Split in June.

When we finish these games, we will start preparing for the Split tournament, talk to all the players to get ready for the summer,” said Croatian basketball team coach Veljko Mrsic.

The Tokyo Olympics will be held from July 24 to August 9. The Croatia basketball team has qualified for the Olympic Games four times, with the highest success being the silver medal in 1992. At the last Rio Olympics, Croatia took 5th place. The tournament in Split is an opportunity for all basketball lovers and fans to accompany their national teams on the road to the Olympics, but also to enjoy top-notch basketball. In addition to Split, other host cities are Belgrade, Kaunas and Victoria. A total of 24 teams will compete in the tournaments, with only the tournament winners going to the Olympics.

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

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Crazy Year for Cowboys Ahead: What Awaits Croatia Handball Team after Euros?

January 28, 2020 - The European Handball Championship may be over, but because it is an Olympic year, we won’t have to wait long to see the Croatia handball team in action again.

Namely, two tournaments of paramount importance have already been secured for the Croatia handball team over the next 365 days, and if all goes well, there will be a third. reports that the Cowboys will now return to their clubs after a few days of rest, then reunite in April ahead of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, which will take place from April 17 to 19 in Paris. The qualifiers will be attended by 12 teams divided into three groups of four, and the first two teams from each group will be issued a visa for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Croatia will play in perhaps the toughest group, along with France, Portugal, and Tunisia. 

Despite its failure at the Euros, France is still a handball force, Portugal was one of the most pleasant surprises at the recent European Championship, while Tunisia is the African finalist.

If all goes to plan, and Croatia finishes either first or second in their group, then in the middle of the summer, we will follow the Cowboys on their way to a new Olympic medal.

The Tokyo Olympics take place from July 24 to August 9, and the handball tournament will be in the same format: a total of 12 teams will be split into two groups of six each, with the first four from each group winning a spot in the quarterfinal.

Handball at the Tokyo Olympics begins on July 25, and all matches will be played every two days. The quarterfinals are in the program from Tuesday, August 4, the semifinal games on Thursday, August 6, and the bronze-medal match and final on Saturday, August 8.

When the Olympic Games come to an end, the players will return to their clubs to begin a new season  -  though it won't be long before another major challenge. The World Handball Championship will be held in Egypt from January 14 to January 31, 2021.

Since Croatia won second place in the 2020 European Championship, they will not have play qualifications for the World Championship next year.

Otherwise, the 2021 World Championship in Egypt will be the first in an expanded edition and will feature as many as 32 national teams. With the expansion, the International Handball Federation (IHF) wants to popularize handball in a number of countries, and as part of this initiative, teams such as Cape Verde, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uruguay will participate. 

It will be a busy year for the Croatia handball team; be sure to follow TCN for the latest.

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