Zagreb, 30 September 2020 - The Croatian Olympic Committee (COC) organized the Milan Neralić Award Ceremony at the Westin Hotel in Zagreb, intended for individuals and associations responsible for development of sports at the local level. This is the second edition of the Award, initiated by the Head of the Croatian Olympic Committee's Local Sport Programs Office Siniša Krajač, and named after the first Croat with Olympic status and the first Croat to win an Olympic medal, Milan Neralić (bronze in fencing at the Paris Olympics 1900).
Already in his introductory speech, the President of the Croatian Olympic Committee Zlatko Mateša highlighted the importance of holding this event in "these normal-abnormal times" because sports workers at the local level have borne the greatest burden of sports system crisis, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic .
- A large number of people volunteer in sports at the local level, which means without any fee or compensation, only for the common good of their community and well-being of this country. The study on economic contribution of volunteers in sports is being prepared and it will show how fascinating the monetary equivalent of their role is - said Mateša and added:
- I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Croatian government that, with the mediation of State Secretary for Sports Tomislav Družak, recognized the need of supporting sports in these, most difficult moments for the sports system. Only few industries can boast with the fact that their system will survive this year without major problems.
After the editor Ninna Lara Vidaković presented the Monograph of the Croatian Olympic Committee’s Local Sport Programs Office, solemnly handed over to all the attendees of the Ceremony, the Awards were presented to this year's laureates. These are: Mladen Klasić (Association of Sports communities Križevci), Stjepan Fotivec (Sports Association of Krapina-Zagorje County), Želimir Feitl (Sports Association of Karlovac County), Boris Gotal (Association of Sports communities of the city of Ivanec) and the only association - Sports Association of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, on whose behalf the Award was received by its President Veljko Karabaić.
All the winner of the Award expressed their gratitude to the Croatian Olympic Committee, primarily for recognizing and then awarding their work in sports in small communities.
This year’s Milan Neralić Award Evaluation committee consisted of: Mladen Pavićević (President), Darko Ivošević, Mario Meštrović, Zvjezdana Tuma-Pavlov, Ante Tanfara , Sanda Čorak and Siniša Krajač (members). (COC/VK)