Zagreb, 10 September 2020 - As every year, on the anniversary of the founding of the Croatian Olympic Committee (10 September 1991), the umbrella sports association celebrates the Croatian Olympic Day and traditionally presents the award Dražen Petrović to the most successful young male and female athletes under the age of 20 and to the greatest sports hopes (up to 16 years). Their results were valorized from 1 September 2019 to 1 September 2020, the period consisting of exactly half a year of uninterrupted sports competitions.

In a welcoming speech on the stage in front of the Museum-Memorial Center Dražen Petrović, the President of the Croatian Olympic Committee Zlatko Mateša emphasized that the ceremony is being held despite the anti-pandemic measures we call "new normal", but all in order to prove that sports is stronger than anything.

- This way we want to show that sport is indestructible. Despite everything, these young male and female athletes are working hard and achieving world results. They are the guarantee of survival of our sports and proof that there is no pandemic that can stop the sports - said Mateša, congratulating all the laureates.

This year’s laureates come from martial arts – taekwondoka Nika Petanjek (gold medal at the European Taekwondo Junior Championships EP and bronze at the European Taekwondo U21 Championships) and karateka Renato Rešetar (bronze medal at the European Karate U21 Championships in February this year). The award for the Most Successful Female Team was also in the martial arts category – it went to members of the National Junior Karate Team in Kata: Stela Horvat, Inga Grgić and Sabina Petković.
Due to the large number of postponed competitions, there were no candidacies for the Most Successful Male Team, so the award in that category was not even presented. However, the team's success was awarded in the category of the Most Successful Sports Pair, Relay or Crew, and the winners are young bocce players Karlo Šaban and Luka Gašpar. They won a bronze medal in Doubles at the U23 World Championships in the competition of much older rivals.
As expected, 16-year-old skier Zrinka Ljutić, the winner of two gold medals - in U14- Women Slalom and Giant Slalom at the Alpecimbra FIS Children Cup, an unofficial World Cup of the younger age categories - was declared the Greatest Female Hope of Croatian Sports. Due to Zrinka's stay at the preparations with the National Skit Team in Austria, the award was received by her mother Martina Cvjetko Ljutić.
The Greatest Male Hope of Croatian sports, tennis player Dino Prižmić - winner of the Tennis Europe Junior Masters in Italy - did not personally receive the award. Due to competitive obligations at the tournament in Mostar, his representative Dino Marcan received the award on behalf of Prižmić.
All award winners pointed out that it is a great honor for them to receive the award named after the legendary Dražen Petrović and that it will be a great incentive in their further careers.

As usual, the final word went to Biserka Petrović who, in addition to congratulating the laureates, reminded of the postulate held during his career by the prematurely deceased "basketball Mozart", which refers to diligence and patience: - Without work there is nothing, and if the result is not visible right now, it will be visible at a later point of time… 

In addition to plaques with the image of Dražen Petrović and emblem of the Croatian Olympic Committee, all laureates have also received cash prizes (gross): individual 20,000.00 HRK, team 2,000.00 HRK / each team member, each sports pair member 7,000.00 HRK and the Greatest Hopes of Croatian Sports - 15,000.00 HRK each.

Due to adherence to the prescribed epidemiological measures, this year's COC ceremony was not held at the Dražen Petrović Museum-Memorial Center, but on the open plateau in front of the Museum. (COC/VK)

 

ALL THE WINNERS OF THE AWARD DRAŽEN PETROVIĆ 2020 BY CATEGORY 

MOST SUCCESSFUL FEMALE ATHLETE - NIKA PETANJEK (TAEKWONDO) 

MOST SUCCESSFUL MALE ATHLETE - RENATO REŠETAR (KARATE) 

MOST SUCCESSFUL FEMALE TEAM - JUNIOR NATIONAL KARATE TEAM IN KATA  

MOST SUCCESSFUL MALE TEAM - NOT SELECTED (WITHOUT ANY CANDIDACY

MOST SUCCESSFUL SPORTS PAIR, RELAY OR CREW - KARLO ŠABAN AND LUKA GAŠPAR (BOCCE) 

GREATEST FEMALE HOPE OF CROATIAN SPORTS - ZRINKA LJUTIĆ (SKIING) 

GREATEST MALE HOPE OF CROATIAN SPORTS - DINO PRIŽMIĆ (TENNIS)