Thursday, 21 July 2022

Sandra Perković Takes Discus Silver at World Athletics Championships!

July 21, 2022 - Croatia's best female athlete, Sandra Perković, won the silver medal in the discus throw at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, USA, while Croatia's second representative, Marija Tolj, finished eighth. 

Perković was second with a score of 68.45, which is her best throw this season. However, that was still not enough for the gold, surprisingly won by Chinese discus thrower Bin Feng with 69.12, reports HRT.

The bronze was won by the Olympic gold medalist from Tokyo, American Valarie Allman, with 68.30 meters. The defending champion from Doha, Cuban Yaime Perez, ended up seventh with 63.07, while Marija Tolj took eighth place, with 63.07.

It is Sandra's 12th medal at major competitions and the fifth at the world championships, which no other discus thrower in the world has achieved.

In her first world final in Berlin in 2009 as a teenager, she finished in ninth place, just before becoming the European junior champion. She then won gold twice, in Moscow in 2013 and London in 2017, and won two silvers (Beijing 2015, Eugene 2022) and one bronze (Doha 2019). Let's add that the 32-year-old Perković won two Olympic golds (2012, 2016) and has five European titles.

22-year-old Marija Tolj also achieved great success. In her first final at a major senior competition, she was eighth with a throw of 63.07 meters. Tolj recently won gold at the Mediterranean Games in Algeria with a personal record of 64.71 meters.

It started hot. In the first series, Allman threw 67.62 and Sandra 67.74, but Bin Feng shocked everyone with 69.12. With this result, Feng improved her personal record of 66.00 meters by more than three meters.

Perković came close to her in the second series by throwing 68.45, while Allman achieved a result of 68.30 in the third series.

It was expected that to win, Sandra would have to beat the American who came to Eugene with the best result of the season (71.46). She succeeded in this, but no one expected Feng to celebrate, who had achieved her greatest success so far in 2019 by winning the Asian Championships. At the last WC in Doha, she was fifth, and at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, she was only 17th.

Unfortunately, Sara Kolak did not make it to the javelin final. The norm was 62.50 meters, but the Olympic winner from Rio de Janeiro did not make a single correct attempt in the qualifications.

It was her third appearance at the world championships. In London in 2017, she was one step away from the podium by winning fourth place, while two years later, in Doha, she was seventh.

The Ludbreg native didn't even have a single correct attempt at the Olympic Games in Tokyo last year, and this season she threw the furthest 62.60 in Leiden, the Netherlands.

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Friday, 17 June 2022

Discus Queen Sandra Perković Wins Diamond League Oslo!

June 17, 2022 - Two-time Olympic winner and Croatian discus throw record holder Sandra Perković won the Diamond League Oslo, throwing 66.82 meters! 

Sandra said after the rally in Eugene twenty days ago that she knew how good she was and how much she was worth, and that she hoped that would be seen in the next competitions. And we all saw it - Sandra Perković came to her 45th career victory in the Diamond League Oslo, leaving behind Olympic winner Valarie Allman for the first time this season, reports Sportske Novosti

After heavy rain at the Bislett Stadium, the best Croatian athlete threw 66.82 meters, which was unattainable for all rivals. Sandra Perković finally defeated the Olympic winner, American Valerie Allman (65.91), after she was second behind the American in Birmingham and Eugene.

After Allman was better than Sandra in both Birmingham and Eugene, Sandra was quick to point out that the season is long and that she has time to catch Allman. What she announced, she achieved, and she has the opportunity for a rematch on Saturday in Paris in a new Diamond adventure. After three chillier rallies, a heat wave has been announced for Saturday in the French capital, with temperatures over 30 degrees. 

The main clash between Perković and Allman is reserved again in Eugene at the World Champs on July 15. Allman will be at home, but Sandra's eventual victory will be even sweeter if she manages to knock down her rival in her backyard. 

The Croatian record holder opened Diamond League Oslo with 61.91 and took first place, while Allman recorded a faulty throw. In the second series, Perković threw 66.82. The American failed to overtake her with 65.67, just like in the next two series, in which she threw 62.06 and 65.21, and Sandra entered X twice.

In the fifth attempt, Allman once again crossed the 65-meter mark (65.53), again insufficient to overthrow Sandra, who this time threw 64.92. In the last series, which includes only the top three, they were joined by Olympic runner-up, German Kristin Pudenz.

Sandra threw first in that final and hit the net, offering Allman to overtake her in the finish but the American could not go further than 65.91. Pudenz threw 63.00 in that last attempt, so her best shot was from the third series (63.31).

All in all, a great victory for Sandra, already the fifth in her career in Oslo. There aren't that many at any other Diamond League rally, but she could also reach 5 in Paris. Throwing 66.82 is her second-best second result of the season, as she threw further only in Birmingham (67.26).

Allman has the best of this season in the world and a personal record (71.46).

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated sports section

Saturday, 28 May 2022

Sandra Perković in 2nd Place of Diamond League Second Round

May 28, 2022 - Two-time Olympic winner and Croatian discus throw record holder Sandra Perković took second place behind American Valerie Allman at the Diamond League rally in Eugene last night.

The American discus thrower Valerie Allman celebrated with a result of 68.35, which is lower than her best result (71.46 m), and Perković was second with 65.50 m, a result she achieved on the third attempt. She threw 64.84m in the second, 64.68m in the fourth, and 65.30m in the fifth, reports tportal.hr. This attempt by Sandra Perković is slightly weaker than her best result of the season she had at the rally in Birmingham on May 21 (67.26 m), where she also finished second behind Allman.

As bad weather is expected on Saturday, organizers have shifted some events to Friday night: the men’s pole vault, women’s high jump, and women’s discus throw.

In third place was German Kristin Pudenz third with 62.58 m.

It is Sandra Perković's third performance this season after performing in Split in March and May. She opened the season with 64.47 meters and then threw 66.16 meters at the Easter International Rally held on May 1.

''The preparations went well, I am happy to be healthy. We managed to repair the Achilles tendon which was my biggest sore last season. We worked hard, maybe I'm a little tired. This year we will have the World Championships in Eugene and the European Championships in Munich. We focused and based on that part of the season, however, I am not coming unprepared for the first rally of the Diamond League in Birmingham'', said the two-time Olympic, two-time world, and five-time European champion on May 18th before the start of the Diamond League in Birmingham.

Interestingly, for the first time in her career, Perković has been working in Zagreb ahead of the tournaments.

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Tuesday, 1 February 2022

Famous Croatian Athletes Promote Their Homeland in Dubai

February 1, 2022 - As part of the presentation of Croatia at the world exhibition in Dubai, an interactive event called 'Croatia inspiring Champions' was held with the presence of famous Croatian athletes such as Sandra Perković, Blanka Vlašić, and the Sinković brothers.

In order to promote the Republic of Croatia as a country of sports and a small country of great world success, this event was attended by famous Croatian athletes and medal winners at major world competitions, such as rowers Martin and Valent Sinković, athletes Sandra Perković and Blanka Vlašić, handball player Mirza Džomba, football player Stipe Pletikosa, and basketball player Gordan Giriček, reports tportal.hr.

Athletes opened the EXPO Sustainability portal and participated in a number of outdoor sports challenges together with visitors at the Sport, Fitness & Wellbeing Hub location.

''I am honored by the invitation and it is a great honor for me as a professional athlete to represent ''Our Beautiful'' at the EXPO 2020 Dubai. This is a great opportunity to show the world who we are and that we Croats are born winners, not only in sports but also in other jobs we do. There are sports legends here, but Croatia has many of them. Also, I would like to wish good luck to our Olympians who will defend the Croatian colors at the Winter Olympics'', said Sandra Perković, two-time Olympic, two-time world, and five-time European discus throw champion.

It was a fantastic socializing event with champions and sports legends attended by guests from all over the world who, regardless of their age, tried their best at sports activities with our celebrated athletes and brought home unforgettable memories in addition to the official T-shirts of the event.

''I feel special when I represent my country at such a big event, especially because I am an active athlete. Fortunately, we are currently out of competition, so we managed to come to Dubai and present Croatia to everyone as the best country in the world. We all know that it is, and now all those who were here were able to share it'', said Martin Sinković.

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Sunday, 29 August 2021

Sandra Perković Wins Diamond League Discus Throw in Paris!

August 29, 2021 - Back and better than ever, Sandra Perković has won the Diamond League discus throw in Paris!

Croatia's best female athlete reached her 44th victory at the Diamond League in her career with a throw of 65.68 meters in the decisive sixth series. With that, she surpassed the second-placed Cuban Yaime Perez by 37 centimeters, while the Olympic winner from Tokyo, American Valarie Allman, took third place with a throw of 64.51 meters.

Screenshot_2021-08-29_at_13.03.54.png

Perković performed the best throw of the competition in the second series when she threw 66.08 meters and thus secured a place in the final series. Her result from the fourth series of 64.69m was the second-best in the first five series, and Perez repeated that range in the fifth series.

On the other hand, Allman made it to the final series with just one correct throw from the first five attempts. In the first series, the American threw 62.47m, and then she crossed four times. Very close to knocking Allman out of the finals was Portugal's Liliana Ca, who finished fourth with 62.43m, and France's Melina Robert-Michon, who finished fifth with 62.42m.

With this victory, Perković reached Perez in the overall standings of the Diamond League discus throw. Both now have 22 points, while Allman is third with 13 points.

After a disappointing campaign in Tokyo, where she was left without a medal after two consecutive gold medals in London and Rio, Sandra came back stronger than ever. Sandra is full of desire and motivation to show that she is once again the best in the sport and that the Tokyo Olympics were just on her bad day. 

Sandra is also a big favorite at the Hanžeković Memorial on September 14, and her main competitor will be the American Allman.

Source: 24 Sata

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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.

Source: Index.hr

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Saturday, 31 July 2021

Discus Queen Sandra Perković Qualifies for Olympic Final on Monday!

July 31, 2021 - Croatian athlete and Discus Queen Sandra Perković set the best result of the A group of discus qualifications at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, and the third overall to place in the final, which is scheduled for Monday. The second Croatian representative, Marija Tolj, missed the final by four centimeters.

Discus Queen Sandra Perković is looking for her third consecutive Olympic title in Tokyo after London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016. With a throw of 63.75 meters, Sandra was third overall in the qualifiers. The best was the American Valarie Allman with 66.42 meters, while Indian Kamalpreet Kaur was second with 63.97, reports HRT.

Sandra already threw. 63.75 meters in the opening, which was only 25 centimeters shorter than the qualifying norm. The Croatian champion was in an excellent mood at the Olympic Stadium; she even danced after her successful throw. However, she had faulty shots in the second series and the third.

"I am happy that I threw almost to the norm in the first shot. I thought it was probably 64 meters, and that's why I danced, but it's still enough. The circle is slippery and not exactly what suits me; I hate them the most because I'm not a savage but a technician. But, I'm so ready I could throw on the ice. The other two shots were underhand," said Sandra, who also complained about the organization.

"It's awful. 130 people train on just one lap in just an hour and a half. So I threw only seven shots in training, and in normal conditions, I throw about a hundred shots. And they didn't even let me into the stadium for the first few days due to quarantine. We complained, of course, that they did not satisfy us. And Americans go to training every day, the four of them go to a special area and have all the time in the world. But it doesn’t matter. I will wait until Monday night," said Sandra, who is awaiting her third Olympic final and hunt for her third consecutive Olympic gold on Monday.

German Kristin Pudenz threw only two centimeters less than Sandra in Group A, while Dutch Jorinde van Klinken threw 61.15, taking 14th place, leaving her without the final in which the 12 best were placed. A big surprise is the terrible performance of Cuban Deina Caballero, who was only 23rd with 57.96.

"Van Klinken threw 70 meters without any problems, and there is barely 61. I am sorry for Caballero; I love her, even though she took my title in 2015. These are the qualifications; I do not want to fail anyone. It is easier to throw at a rally in Pusca Gora than to throw at this huge and empty stadium at the Olympic Games," said Sandra.

Unfortunately, no other Croatian representative in the final after Marija Tolj took the unfortunate 13th place. With 61.48 cm, she was only four centimeters behind the 12th Brazilian Isabel da Silva. In her first Olympic appearance, Orebić threw 54.76, in the second 61.48, while the third shot went to 60.63 meters.

"I am not disappointed; I am satisfied because I threw over 60 meters at my first Olympic Games. A little trepidation took my toll on the first shot, but I’m happy with 61.48 in the second. I didn’t miss the audience because I love when there’s no one; I’m that type. So everything is fine for me; the only thing is that I managed to break the cardboard bed in the Olympic Village, it tilted to one side, so I had to collect it. Yes, I am alone in the room," 21-year-old Tolj said with calm and, apparently, not at all disappointed.

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Wednesday, 16 June 2021

Sandra Perković and Josip Glasnović to Hold Croatian Flag at the Olympic Games

June 16, 2021 - 'Discus Queen' Sandra Perkovic and star sports shooter Josip Glasnović will share the Croatian flag at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer! 

The current Olympic winners, athlete Sandra Perković and sports shooter Josip Glasnović will hold the Croatian flag at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Tokyo on July 23, which was decided by the Council of the Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) at its 15th session, held in a regular manner in Zagreb under the chairmanship of COC leader Zlatko Mateša, reports HRT.

In Japan, Perković will defend the Olympic gold from Rio de Janeiro in the discus throw, and Glasnović in trap shooting. 

Five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, the Croatian flag was carried by water polo player Josip Pavić, and before him, it was handball player Venio Losert (2012 London), handball player Ivano Balić (2008 Beijing), water polo player Dubravko Šimenc (2004 Athens), table tennis player Zoran Primorac (2000 Sydney), water polo player Perica Bukić (1996. Atlanta) and tennis player Goran Ivanišević (1992).

In this way, the members of the Council welcomed the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that, in accordance with the commitment to gender equality in sports, the flag bearers on such occasions should be one athlete each.

According to the report of the Office for the Olympic Program of the Croatian Olympic Committee, the Croatian Olympic delegation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics could have 120 members, and among them, in the most optimistic version (with the basketball team) there could be about 70 Olympians.

The number stopped at 47 athletes, though it could increase to 50 after the official confirmation of the achieved Olympic "visas" by judokas Barbara Matić and Karla Prodan and possibly Ivana Maranić according to the continental quota.

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Friday, 11 June 2021

Discus Queen Sandra Perković Records 43rd Career Diamond League Victory!

Jun 11, 2021 - Great news for the Discus Queen Sandra Perković, who recorded her 43rd Diamond League win in Florence on Friday. The celebrated Sandra is back on top just 40 days before the Olympic Games in Tokyo! 

Sandra Perković returned to the winning track she knows well in the discus throw with a triumph at the Diamond League rally in Florence, reports HRT.

Perković threw the longest shot of 68.31 meters in the second series, but the victory came thanks to a throw of 66.90 meters in the sixth series, considering that according to the new rules, the winners are decided by the first three shots in the sixth series. Sandra reached 67.70 meters in the first series, and she also had three offenses.

About 40 days before the start of the Olympic Games, the Croatian discus thrower is obviously getting back in shape after a break due to a pandemic and injuries. She will be looking for her third consecutive Olympic gold in Tokyo.

Second place in Florence was Cuban Jaime Perez (66.82 m), who was first at the Diamond League rally in Doha, where Perković was only third. Third place in Florence was taken by the German Kristin Prudenz (64.42 m).

The second Croatian representative Marija Tolj came in fourth with a distance of 63.28 meters achieved in the third series.

Croatian record holder in the shot put Filip Mihaljević took fourth place at the Diamond League rally in Florence.

Mihaljevic threw 21.39 meters in the last fifth series, and he also had a shot of 21.28 meters.

A few days ago, Filip broke the Croatian record, which is now 21.94! 

New Zealander Tom Walsh (21.47) celebrated in Florence with a better shot in the sixth series than the Serb Armin Sinancevic (21.60). 

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Monday, 23 December 2019

Croatian Sport 2019: A Year in Review

December 23, 2019 - How did this year compare to Croatia’s most successful year in sport? A look at Croatian sport in 2019. 

It seemed as though nothing could quite compare to 2018. It was the year Croatian football became World Cup finalists. The year Croatia brought home the Davis Cup trophy and thus gained sweet revenge on France. A year so successful, we’d never seen anything like it in Croatian history. 

As 2019 began, I was hardly optimistic.

“How could we be so lucky again?”

Fortunately, the year was full of pleasant surprises. It was a year that saw our young talents thrive. A year that saw countless triumphs in both individual and team sports. It was another epic year in Croatian sport.

Here is our  2019 year in review. 

Croatia Handball: 2019 began with the Men’s Handball World Championship, which featured Croatia in Group B. After four impressive wins against Iceland, Japan, Macedonia, and Bahrain, Croatia met Spain to decide the winner of the group. After topping Spain 23:19, Croatia went on to win Group B and continued to the main round of the tournament. Croatia was not so lucky there, losing to Brazil 29:26 and Germany 21:22, which ultimately took them out of the fight for the medal. A win against France for the final game of the main round restored their morale, though a loss to Sweden, in the end, saw Croatia finish the tournament as the 6th best team in the world. Croatia will play in the European Championships next month against Montenegro, Belarus and Serbia in Graz. 

Franko Grgic: Promising Croatian swimmer, 16-year-old Franko Grgic, won two gold swimming medals in the 800-meter and 1500-meter races at this year's World Junior Championships, and was even selected among the five finalists for the Piotr Nurowski Award, which as awarded by the European Olympic Committees (EOC) for the ninth time. Though he didn’t win the award in the end, he made sure he was on everyone’s swimming radar. The PK Jadran Split swimmer had an outstanding August, celebrating two gold medals and achieving new records at the 7th FINA World Junior Swimming Championships in Budapest. After winning the gold in the 800-meter-freestyle while breaking a Croatian record, the 16-year-old swimming sensation became the world champion in the 1500-meter-freestyle and achieved a new world junior record with a time of 14:46.09 minutes. Grgic swam 10.46 seconds faster in Budapest than his best-ever record in the 1500 meters, which was also Croatia's national record. Franko’s previous career-fastest in the 800-meter free was achieved in Zagreb in March, where he swam 7:53.75. In Budapest, however, Grgic was 8 seconds faster, thus breaking the Croatian record held by Marin Mogic (7:51:78). Grgic was thus named the 25th fastest performer of all-time, any age, in this 800-meter freestyle. At the beginning of the year, Grgic won the gold in the 400-meter and 1500 meter at the EYOF in Baku, and also hit the Olympic standard for Tokyo 2020. We can’t wait to see him in Tokyo next summer.

 

Croatia Basketball: It wasn’t the greatest year for Croatia basketball, which failed to qualify for the World Cup in China back in August. However, with new coach Veljko Mrsic on the bench, Croatia still has a chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The light at the end of the tunnel to 2019 was the welcoming news that Split would be host to the 2020 Olympic Qualifying tournament next June, where Croatia will face Tunisia and Brazil, and crossover with Germany or Russia. It will be the strongest tournament played on Croatian ground since EuroBasket 1989 in Zagreb. But not all was bleak. In the NBA, Croatia captain Bojan Bogdanovic saw a stellar transfer to the Utah Jazz this summer, where he’s been playing the basketball of his career. Ivica Zubac is still a hit at the LA Clippers and Dario Saric is finding his footing better at the Phoenix Suns. Croatia also boasts a record seven players in the NBA this season. To end on a high, two legendary Croatian basketball players Toni Kukoc and Giuseppe ‘Pino’ Giergia have been listed among the 50 candidates nominated for the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Illinois. 

Dina Levacic: Another year, another swimming success for Dina Levacic! In 7 hours, 13 minutes and 15 seconds, 23-year-old Solin native Dina Levacic completed the Tsugaru Strait to complete the fourth open water channel swim out of the seven in the 'Oceans Seven' challenge. The channel is located between Japan's largest island, Honshu and Hokkaido, and high waves and strong frontal wind accompanied the Croatian swimmer the entire way. The member of the Split Swimming Club set one of her best times and became only the 67th person to complete the Tsugaru Strait.

The ‘Ocean Seven’ is a series of seven international swimming marathons, modeled after the Seven Summits mountaineering challenge. Dina Levačić had already swum three marathon channels from the ‘Ocean Seven’ series before attempting the Tsugaru: Catalina Channel, English Channel (La Manche) and Moloka’i Channel. After the Tsugaru Strait in Japan, Dina will still need to overcome the North Channel between Northern Ireland and Scotland, the Strait of Gibraltar between Europe and Africa and the Cook Strait in New Zealand.

Croatia Football: On the heels of the greatest sporting success in Croatian history, the Croatia football team did not disappoint this year. Croatia’s Euro 2020 qualifiers kicked off back in March against Azerbaijan, where they won 2:1 at home. A shocking loss to Hungary stirred the pot, though wins against Wales and Slovakia put Croatia back on their feet. Draws to Wales and Azerbaijan complicated Croatia’s road to the Euros only slightly, as big wins against Hungary and Slovakia in the return games sealed the deal. Croatia not only qualified for the Euros next summer, but they finished at the top of their qualifying group. 2019 was also a pivotal year for Croatian football, as it will be remembered as the year the national team returned to Poljud stadium in Split for the first time since 2015. Croatia played to a sold-out stadium and coach Zlatko Dalic called it the best atmosphere they’d experienced. The Euros await Croatia next year, where they will face England, the Czech Republic, and the winner of the Nations League C (Norway/Serbia v Scotland/Israel). 

Dinamo Zagreb: It was another successful year for Dinamo Zagreb, who clinched the Croatian Championship title for the 20th time back in April after defeating Slaven Belupo. Dinamo secured the title six rounds before the end of the season and 23 points ahead of Rijeka in second. While Rijeka went on to win the Croatian Cup, Dinamo went on to have an impressive Champions League campaign. After soaring through the Champions League qualifiers and playoff round, Dinamo advanced to the Group Stage against Manchester City, Atalanta, and Shakhtar Donetsk. Dinamo opened their seventh Champions League appearance against Atalanta at Maksimir stadium with a shocking 4:0 victory. They fell to City both times, drew to Shakhtar twice, and couldn’t do itagainst Atalanta the second time around. The Zagreb club finished last in their group and will not continue their European run in the spring. 

Croatia Water Polo: It was a busy year for the Croatia water polo team, which began with the Europa Cup in Zagreb, where Croatia failed to defend the title after losing to Hungary in the final. From the Europa Cup to the World League Super Final in Serbia, Croatia went on to defeat Kazakhstan, Australia, Japan, and Spain for a spot in the final against Serbia, where they lost by one goal. The summer continued with the World Championships, where Croatia was again better than Australia,  the USA, and Kazakhstan. They defeated Germany in the quarterfinal but lost to Spain in the semis to miss their chance in the final. Croatia did, however, beat Hungary for third place. Croatia will compete in the Euros next month, where they will have to finish at the top to secure their spot in the Tokyo Olympics next summer. Croatia water polo ended the year with yet another impressive recognition as two team members are among the top seven in the world - Maro Jokovic and Josip Vrlic.

Croatia Tennis: Unlike last year, where Croatia took home the Davis Cup title, this year saw a Croatia squad plagued with injuries and a new coach just days before the tournament was to begin. Croatia didn’t make it out of their group this time around after falling to Russia and Spain, but they can be proud of their individual achievements. Osijek native Donna Vekic made it to the Nottingham final where she lost to Caroline Garcia.  She even advanced to the round of 16 at the Cincinnati Masters, Roland Garros, and the US Open. Petra Martic defeated 19-year-old Czech player Markéta Vondroušová to get her first WTA title at the Istanbul Cup.  Martic also secured the fourth WTA final of her career at the Zhengzhou Open, where she lost to Karolina Pliskova, and also faced Serena Williams in the US Open round of 16. Both Petra and Donna played in the WTA Elite Trophy tournament, which brings together female tennis players ranked 9th to 19th on the WTA ladder. Borna Coric made it to the semifinal of the Dubai Open, Rosmalen, and St. Petersburg, where he ultimately went on to the final. Marin Cilic’s first semifinal in fourteen months wasn’t until the Kremlin Cup back in October. The real star of Croatian tennis this year is Ivan Dodig, who won two ATP doubles titles with Filip Polasek, at the China Open and the Cincinnati Masters. Dodig also won the Wimbledon mixed doubles title with Latisha Chan and defended their Roland Garros title just weeks before. 

Sandra Perkovic: Sandra Perkovic failed to defend the world championship title in the discus throw this year, which she won two years ago in London, but still secured a medal at the World Championships in Doha. Namely, Perkovic won the bronze medal after throwing 66.72 meters in the first series of the finals, while Cubans Yaime Perez and Denia Caballero were the gold and silver medalists. This was Sandra’s fourth medal at the World Championships. Sandra became the world champion in Moscow in 2013 and London in 2017 and won the silver in Beijing in 2015. In addition to four world championship medals, Perkovic is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time European champion.

Croatia Gymnastics: It was another big year for Tin Srbic, who won the silver medal at the European Championships in Szczecin in the horizontal bar event. The Croatian gymnast went on to win the gold medal with an impressively high score of 14.900 points at the World Cup in Paris, and ended the year with a silver medal at the World Championships in Stuttgart. He was also named the best Croatian male athlete by the Croatian Olympic Committee. 

 

Croatia’s best female gymnast Ana Đerek won the gold medal at the World Cup competition in Osijek after a brilliant floor performance, and Robert Seligman advanced to the Cottbus World Cup finals in the pommel horse. 

Sinkovic Brothers: The dynamic duo did it again! The year began with a second-place medal in the coxless pairs at the World Cup in Plovdiv, though it only went up from there. Martin and Valent Sinkovic defended their world rowing championship title in the coxless pairs in Linz-Ottensheim, Austria, qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, and ended the year as the best rowing team in the world, declared by the FISA World Rowing Organization!

Snjezana Pejcic: Croatia's best female shooter Snjezana Pejcic and her Indian teammate Divyansh Singh Panwar won the mixed team air rifle competition to wrap up the World Cup final in Putian, China. Pejcic has already qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which will be her fourth appearance at the Olympic Games. 

Croatia Taekwondo: 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. 

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Dino Sinovcic: Croatian Paralympian Dino Sinovcic won the 100m backstroke gold medal in the S6 category at the WPS World Paralympic Championships in London. Sinovic won at the Queen Elizabeth Aquatic Center with a time of 1:15.46, ahead of the Chinese swimmer Hong Yang who swam a time of 1:15.47 for the silver, and Argentine Matias De Andrade, who swam a time of 1:16.91 for the bronze. 

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Stipe Miocic: The 36-year-old Croatian-American Stipe Miocic defeated 40-year-old American Daniel Cormier by a knockout in the fourth round of the UFC 241 fight held in Anaheim, California. Stipe thus won sweet revenge on Cormier and brought back the UFC Heavyweight Champion title to Ohio after he lost it to Cormier in Las Vegas 13 months before. The fight between Miocic and Cormier lasted more than 19 minutes, in which the title defender had more significant blows (123-98). 

Croatia Karate: The karate gold and silver came to Croatia thanks to the brilliant Kvesic brothers from Karate club Hercegovina-Zagreb. At this year's European Games in Minsk, Ivan Kvesic won the gold medal while his brother Anđelo Kvesic secured the silver. Croatian representatives returned home with eight medals from the European Games in Minsk - two gold, one silver and five bronze.

To read more about Croatian sport, follow TCN's dedicated page.  

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