Zagreb, October 30, 2015 – Member of the National Team and beneficiary of Olympic scholarship, middleweight boxer Hrvoje Sep (Boxing club Leonardo and Astana Arlansa), is the second Croatian boxer and also the 35th athlete who has qualified for performance at the Games of the XXXI Olympiad Rio de Janeiro, which will be held from August 5th to August 21st 2016.
At the presentation of the boxing Olympian Filip Hrgović in April, Hrvoje did not want to take the shirt with the inscription "In the rhythm of Rio!" saying: "This T-Shirt does not belong to me now, when I earn it, I will be very glad to put it on". Today, half a year later, Hrvoje picked up his, this time very much deserved, T-shirt.
"The performance at the Olympics is not my dream, but my goal, while my dream is the Olympic medal. I was disappointed with the fifth place at the World Championships in Doha, but I believed in my trip to Rio and a couple of days ago I have told all of my friends and my family not to count on me in August 2016 because I will be at the Olympic Games in Rio. The decision on the qualification came to me as a surprise, but I most certainly deserve it, which is proven by my efforts and results", said Hrvoje Sep at today's presentation at the Croatian Olympic Committee, which was attended by the Olympian and Assistant Secretary General for Legal Affairs Biserka Vrbek and Assistant Secretary General for Olympic Program Damir Šegota.
The coach Leonard Pijetraj did not try to hide his satisfaction: "For me and the club it would not be a complete success if Filip Hrgović managed to qualify and Hrvoje did not. From the first day, I believed in both, and our goal is definitely the medal. You can say that we expect one or two more boxers to join us at the Olympic Games in Rio".
On Wednesday evening, the International Boxing Federation (AIBA) launched the news that Hrvoje Sep has qualified for performance at the Olympic Games in 2016. Namely, the Cuban middleweight boxer Julio Cesar La Cruz has secured an Olympic visa by two criteria - gold medal at the recent World Championships in Doha and second place in the individual order of the World Series Boxing (WSB) 2015. Since the World Championships has the advantage in the ranking criteria, La Cruz's Olympic visa from the WSB-is given to the next boxer in the qualification ranking - Hrvoje Sep.
We have already had two boxing Olympians in Athens in 2004 (Marijo Šivolija and Vedran Đipalo) and in Beijing in 2008 (Marijo Šivolija and Marko Tomasović), while at the London Olympics we had no boxers at all - but in Rio 2016 we will have two of them - Filip Hrgović and Hrvoje Sep.
Besides that, Hrvoje Sep is the winner of the annual sports award of the Vukovarsko-Srijemska County, while Leonard Pijetraj and Filip Hrgović are the winners of the State's annual sports award "Franjo Bučar".
Exactly 280 days before the start of the Olympic Games Rio 2016, the Croatian National Olympic Team counts for now 35 evident athletes, qualified for the performance at the Olympics and altogether 99 athletes – beneficiaries of the Croatian Olympic Committee's Olympic Scholarship Program:
ATHLETICS (7): Sandra Perković, Blanka Vlašić, Ana Šimić, Andrea Ivančević, Marin Premeru, Ivan Horvat, Lisa Nemec;
BOXING (2): Filip Hrgović, Hrvoje Sep;
SAILING (5): Šime Fantela, Igor Marenić, Tina Mihelić, Ivan Kljaković Gašpić, Tonći Stipanović;
SHOOTING (5): Snježana Pejčić, Josip Glasnović, Valentina Gustin, Petar Gorša, Giovanni Cernogoraz;
WATER POLO (13): Croatian National Water Polo Team (13 players);
ROWING (3): Martin Sinković, Valent Sinković, Damir Martin