ZAGREB, September 22, 2008 – At the occasional ceremony, held in the hotel Panorama in Zagreb on September 22, the Croatian Olympic Committee presented the award "Dražen Petrović" for 2008 to the most promising female and male athlete and women's and men's teams of younger age categories.
The award for the most promising Croatian female athlete went to taekwondo athlete Martina Zubčić, the winner of bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing in category up to 57 kg. The award for the most promising male athlete went to the athlete Marin Premeru, the winner of silver medal in discus throw at the World Youth Championships in Poland and winner of bronze medal in shot put.
In women's team competition, the award went to the National Junior Karate Team, the winners of first place at the European Cadet and Junior Championships in Trieste, in a team consisting of: Ema Aničić, Azra Saleš, Maša Martinović and Ivana Goricaj. In men's team competition, the award went to the National Junior Basketball Team, winners of the third place at the European Championships for players up to 18 years in Athens. The bronze medal went to the team consisting of: Ivan Batur, Mario Delaš, Goran Fodor, Toni Prostran, Leon Radošević, Ivan Ramljak, Robert Rikić, Sven Smajlagić, Tomislav Zubčić, Josip Bilinovac, Darko Planinić and Nikola Došen.
Addressing the winners of the award "Dražen Petrović" and the other attendees of the occasional ceremony, the President of the Croatian Olympic Committee Zlatko Mateša expressed his satisfaction that the award for the most promising young athletes was named after the great man and athlete Dražen Petrović, who can be a role model to everyone.
"On how great sports name we are talking about proves the fact that Dražen's museum is visited by more than 18.000 visitors a year, the number no Zagreb museum with permanent exhibition can boast with", said Mateša and announced that in the eve of Dražen Petrović's birthday, October 22, an attractive basketball game shall be organized.
Antun Vrdoljak, member of the International Olympic Committee highlighted that Dražen, along with other Croatian athletes, was the only recognizable sports product in the world in times of the Homeland war and establishment of the Croatian Olympic Committee. "Only thanks to the names such as Dražen Petrović, Goran Ivanišević, Toni Kukoč, Stojko Vranković, Dino Rađa, Zvone Boban, Davor Šuker... we were able to request and get our National Olympic Committee, something the generations of Croatian athletes were longing for, but failed in achieving it. Thanks to the captain Dražen, we were able to play the unforgettable final game in Barcelona between the "Dream Team" and Croatia, the game that remained forever written in our hearts", stressed Vrdoljak. Dražen's mother Biserka Petrović, assisted by the members of the Council, Morana Paliković Gruden, Nada Senčar, Goranko Fižulić, Ivo Goran Munivrana, Luciano Sušanj and Stojko Vranković, presented the award consisting of a written charter. The sponsor of the award HGspot presented Martina Zubčić and Marin Premeru with another gift – a laptop computer, while the team members were presented a cell phone, which was a gift by T-mobile.
The award „Dražen Petrović" was established in 2006 and first presented in 2007. The Board for presentation of the award "Dražen Petrović" for 2008 consisted of: Zvonimir Boban, President, and members: Goranko Fižulić, Zvjezdana Tuma Pavlov and Dragutin Kamenski (Croatian Olympic Committee's Council), Iva Perdec - Augustinčić, Romana Caput -Jogunica and Vinko Knežević (Croatian Sports Journalists Association) and Olympians, Aleksandar Petrović, Kaja Ileš and Vlado Lisjak (Croatian Olympians Club).