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Zagreb, November 3, 2015 (Hina) - After a long and serious illness, Miroslav Poljak, one of the best Croatian water polo players of all time and winner of the gold medal at the Mexico Olympics, died on Monday, November 2, 2015 in Zagreb at the age of 71.


Poljak was born on September 3, 1944 in Zagreb, and in early 1960's he began playing in the club Mladost under the guidance of the coach Jure Amšel who has, besides him, discovered Ozren Bonačić and Karlo Stipanić as well. From 1960 until 1976 he was playing for the club "žapci sa Save"("toads from Sava"), and in the beginning of his career he played for a short period for the club Betina from the island of Murter and team from Filip Jakov.

During 16 years of playing in Mladost, he has won the title of Yugoslavian National Champion in 1962, 1967, 1969 and 1971 and at the Yugoslavian Winter Championships in 1961, 1962 and 1964. Along with his club Mladost, he has won at the European Champions in 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1971 and at the European Super Cup in 1976. Four times top shooter of Europe and most effective player of the Yugoslavian National Team for many years, he was also proclaimed the third shooter at the Olympic Games in 1968 in Mexico and one of the best players at the Olympic tournament where he was performing at the peak of his active career.
The lovers of water polo, who know him by the nickname Žmega, will always remember him for not only his excellent performances in the cap with the number 7, but also even more for his bright spirit that has not disappeared neither during his long-term serious illness nor after the amputation of both lower legs.

In 2010, Miroslav Poljak was awarded the Croatian Olympic Committee's Trophy "Matija Ljubek" Lifetime Achievement Award, and in 2009, he was awarded the State Medal of Order of Danica Hrvatska (Croatian Daystar) with the image of Franjo Bučar.
His funeral will be held on Friday, November 6, at 1.35 p.m. at the crematorium of the Zagreb cemetery of Mirogoj. (Hina) xad yad

On this sad occasion, death of a prominent Olympian Miroslav Poljak, the President and Secretary General of the Croatian Olympic Committee Zlatko Mateša and Josip Čop sent their condolences to the family:

"Dear family Poljak, on the occasion of death of the Great Croatian athlete, holder of gold Olympic medal at the Mexico Olympics in 1968, Miroslav Poljak, please accept our deepest condolences. The Croatian Olympic family will never forget the contribution of our beloved Miro to the Croatian sports.