Zagreb, December 20, 2017 – During the traditional celebration of the Great Day of Croatian Sport, held in the Crystal Hall of the Westin hotel in Zagreb, the Croatian Olympic Committee declared the most successful female and male athletes and coaches in the year reaching its end and presented valuable recognitions to the most deserving ones.
The celebration was attended by the notables from the socio-political life, led by the Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Minister of Finance Zdravko Marić, Minister of Tourism Gari Capelli, as well as by the delegations of the President of Republic of Croatia (Madžar) and the Croatian Parliament (Čičak). Of course, State Secretary for Sports Janica Kostelić joined the celebration as well.
The introductory word was given to the host, Head of the Croatian Olympic Committee, Zlatko Mateša.
- We have not only really great athletes, but coaches as well – said Mateša, greeting the attendees.
Secretary General Josip Čop emphasized the number of more than 400 competitions in 2017 and the successes of Croatian athletes, expressed in medals:
- Our athletes have won 240 medals, of which 76 gold, 78 silver and 86 bronze medals...
In the category of the most successful female teams, the trophy went to our shooting team (Snježana Pejčić, Valentina Gustin, Marta Zeljković) – winners of silver medal in Air Rifle 10 M at the European Championships. World Water Polo Champions, the Croatian "Barracudas", are winners of the Best Team Award 2017. Sinković brothers, a silver Double Sculls pair at the World Championships, are the winners – seventh time in a row – in the category of The Most Successful Sports Pair in Relay/Team.
The successful outcome of Croatian sport in 2017 is also visible in the selection of the most successful coaches. Three experts have been selected whose trainees have won the world gold - Edis Elkasević (Athletics), Lucijan Krce (Gymnastics) and Ivica Tucak (Water Polo).
The biggest sports promoters of Croatia in the world are Luka Modrić, Mario Mandžukić, Ivan Rakitić, Dejan Lovren and Mateo Kovačić, tennis player Marin Čilić and basketball player Dario Šarić. As participants of the Croatian National Tourist Board's promotional video "Croatia - full of life", seven great athletes promoted the beauty of our Homeland, forwarding the for this engagement anticipated compensation for humanitarian purposes. The award was received by Marin Čilić, who expressed deep satisfaction with the success of the tourist-sport project.
Four prestigious officials and one association are the winners of the Croatian Olympic Committee’s Award Matija Ljubek (Life Achievement Award): Zrinko Gregurek and Dragutin Šurbek from Zagreb, Zvjezdana Tuma-Pavlov from Osijek and Vlaho Asić from Split and Sports-Fishing Association Priroda from Vinkovci.
The award for Sports Event of the Year went to Split native Dina Levačić, open water swimmer, the first Croatian female athlete to cross the English Channel and the second woman in the world to win the Triple Crown, finishing three marathons in 90 days of total length of 114 kilometers. This year, the Croatian Olympic Committee also presented two awards for the media promotion of Croatian sports to the winners – TV shows – Sport nedjeljom (Sports on Sundays) by editor Ante Breko and Istinom do gola (with Truth to the Goal), a talk show by Zdravko Reić
The International Olympic Committee’s Trophy "Sport Beyond Borders" was presented to Mario Meštrović from the Sports Association of Vukovar-Srijem County for extraordinary contribution of the Association in popularizing sports and spreading tolerance among people of different minority communities.
It is interesting that the awarding ceremony on the stage featured our sports hopes, among whom the members of the rowing crew - World Junior Champions in Coxless Four Ivana and Josipa Jurković, Bruna Milinović and Izabela Krakić - distinguished with their elegance.
The first lady of Croatian sports, according to the selection of the Croatian Olympic Committee, for the sixth time in a row, is the athlete Sandra Perković, World Champion and winner of the Diamond League in Discus Throw. The best in male competition was, as expected, the gymnast Tin Srbić, the sensational winner of the world gold in Horizontal Bar.
- Efforts, work and entertainment are ahead of me in my discipline, with the next big goal Tokyo 2020. I believe that I will fulfill my ambitions...
Individual awards were presented by the Prime Minister Plenković who also said:
- We have decided as a Croatian government to make a financial step towards sports because it really deserves it. Sports have done so much for our country and there is no budget that could cover it... (coc/vk)