Zagreb, 8 September 2021 - Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković received - in the premises of the National University Library - Croatian female and male athletes-medal winners at the recently completed Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
The Prime Minister was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Zdravko Marić, Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac and Minister of Labor, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Josip Aladrović.
- On behalf of the entire Government, I want to congratulate you on your great achievements at this year’s Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo. Once again, you thrilled Croatia and its citizens and showed how important sport is, how successful you are with your commitment and quality and how much you have done in promoting the Croatian sports and Croatia in general, said the Croatian Prime Minister at the beginning of the reception.
Pointing out that this year's Olympics were specific both because they were postponed last year and because they took place in significantly different circumstances, he stressed that eight medals won at the Olympics and seven at the Paralympics are truly great successes for the Croatian sports. He added that this Government feels like a truly sports one and supports sport in every way, whether team or individual, and in constant conversation with all committees and federations.
Besides the rhetorical support, said the Prime Minister Plenković, the Government is also trying to give particular support and therefore, during the first and current, the second term of this Government, 100% more resources are invested in sports. However, the Prime Minister believes that this is not enough yet and points out that, as it is known in sports, with its successes Croatia plays above its own category and - when it comes to funds - even two categories above.
- We will continue investing in sports and finding the ways of both support and funding because we are convinced that it is healthy, good for youngsters, good for the entire society because it is one of the most beautiful forms of social engagement that creates both work habit, solidarity, fair play and honesty and, finally, agility that is later applied in all other spheres of life, said the Prime Minister.
Congratulating everyone on their success, Minister of Tourism and Sports Nikolina Brnjac recalled the farewell ceremony to Croatian athletes before their journey Tokyo and said that even then she believed in extremely good results, which turned out to be true. - You have shown that Croatia has great, big-hearted athletes. Especially in these extremely difficult conditions you have had during the preparation for these Olympic and Paralympic Games, where you have shown that it can be achieved – said Brnjac, adding that more than 1 billion HRK has been allocated as support since 2016.
Croatian Olympic Committee’s President Zlatko Mateša, who attended the reception together with the Croatian Olympic Committee’s Secretary General Sinisa Krajač and his closest associates, congratulated his colleagues from the Paralympic Committee on their great success in Tokyo and thanked the Croatian Government for its support.
- All this would not have happened if we did not have all the conditions we needed in an extremely difficult pandemic situation, said Mateša, thanking especially the Minister of Tourism and Sports, but also the Minister of Defense Banožić, since the MORH, he said, helps athletes very much as well.
President Ratko Kovačić spoke on behalf of the Paralympic Committee, congratulating all athletes on their great results as well: - This is the best performance ever in terms of number of medals won at the Paralympic Games. Sport is the most important tool in integration of people with disabilities in order to engage from the passive side of society into the active side of society.
On behalf of all Olympians, gold medalist in Rowing Martin Sinković congratulated the Paralympic athletes, highlighting how pleased he is with the fact that investments in sports increased during the term of this Government, pointing out that the projects they have with the Ministry of Defense mean a lot to athletes. He added that the decision enabling the athletes to get a job at the MORH after the completion of their active careers means a lot because it represents a great security. Permanent fees for excellence, he noted, are also a big deal for athletes, while the awards are doubled. Noting that "there is really a lot of progress" in terms of investing in sports, he believes that one must still work a bit on the conditions for top coaches, as well as on further increasing of awards.
Prime Minister Plenković agreed with the proposal, saying that – even though he knows that athletes perform for other motives - adequate awards are also important. On this occasion, the payment of awards to Olympians and Paralympians for medals won was confirmed, for which the Government allocated around HRK 6.5 million from the budget.