Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Croatian Olympic Committee President Attacks Tokyo Organizers Over Marinić Isolation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Monday, 13 April 2020

Croatian Olympic Committee President Planning Training for Top Athletes

April 13, 2020 - Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO) President Zlatko Matesa was a guest on Radio Split. In an interview with Marko Milicic, he spoke about possible economic consequences for sports and other economic activities, and also discussed adjusting to the new term of the Olympic Games.

"For all of us, the coronavirus pandemic has changed our everyday lives; it has strongly influenced all aspects of Croatian society, including sports. For weeks, nothing has been happening on the sports fields, the athletes are at home, just like other citizens, and they are listening to the recommendations of the National Headquarters. The implications are both related to sports and the economy," Matesa said in an interview with Croatian Radio.

Last week, the Croatian Government supported measures of the Central State Office for Sport, which will be converted into HRK 40 million for preserving jobs in sports collectives, and umbrella sports organizations are trying to help sports in other ways.

"Through our Office of the European Funds and the Office of the European Olympic Committees, a document has been drafted and proposed to the European Commission and on the basis of which we expect that the so-called SURE program, which also extends to Croatia, can also be used partly for sports. On the other hand, measures taken in the meantime by the Central State Office for Sports, led by Mr. Tomislav Druzak, should at least make it possible for sports to survive in organizational terms, until the competitions can begin again," said the leader of Croatian sports.

"As for Tokyo and moving the Games to next year, we have no major problems here. Scholarships to all Olympic candidates and coaches are normally paid, and I expect no problem on that side. It is essential that they all be healthy and once they can train again, to prepare for the Olympic Games in the best possible way," says Matesa.

But the question remains: When will top athletes be able to train again? Has the National Headquarters been contacted? While group training is advised against, top athletes still have to stay fit.

"We have initiated and the Central State Office for Sport has asked the Civil Protection Headquarters to consider the possibility of training certain groups of top athletes who, in their way own way, pose no threat. For example, we do not see a problem with Damir Martin and the Sinkovic brothers rowing or Sandra Perkovic training with her coach. We do not see any particular threat here, as even social distance can be maintained. We will see what the decision of the National Headquarters is and we will act accordingly," said Matesa.

You can listen to the full interview with Marko Milicic and Zlatko Matesa here.

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