Zagreb, 7 March 2021 - Sports weekend brought an abundance of Croatian athletes’ successful performances at international competitions. With congratulations to all those who have achieved valuable results on the representative or club level, one must highlight the achievements of potential Olympic male and female candidates - in judo, karate and tennis.
Grand Slam Tournament in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) brings to Croatia two valuable silvers in Judo and plenty of points for the Olympic rankings. After Saturday’s program where Barbara Matić - the Best Female Athlete in 2020, according to the sports journalists’ selection (SN poll) - won silver in the category -70kg, the medal of equal brilliance was earned on Sunday by the Best Female Athlete in the selection of the Croatian Olympic Committee, Karla Prodan, in the category -78kg.
In the beginning, Matić defeated Italy's Bellandi with ippon, as well as in the duel with New Zealand’s Coughlan in extra time (golden score). She then defeated Moroccan Niang with wazari in the semifinals, as well as Brazil's Santana in the fight for the finals. In the battle for gold, Japan's Arai overcame her with wazari. In the fight for quarterfinals Prodan overcame Germany's Ziech and Poland's Pacut in fight for semifinals and in the semifinals, she eliminated Israel's Lanir, while Japan's Mami Umeki was better than her in the finals.
In addition to the silver medals, both Matić and Prodan scored 700 points each in the world rankings of their categories, and this will bring them closer to performing at the Tokyo Olympics.
Karateka Ivan Kvesić returned to winning habits in the Olympic-category test tournament in Châtenay-Malabry, France, where he performed upon the French Karate Federation’s wildcard invite. He triumphed in the +75kg category, defeating five rivals in a row: Faadel Boussag 3-1, Antoine Pinardin 5-0, Mehdi Filali 1-0, Kenji Grillon 2-1 and Steven Da Costa 4-2 in the finals. Let us remind you, Kvesić must re-win the last year’s deserved Olympic “visa” (WKF's annulled decision), which - judging by his performance in France - should not be a problem for him. Next weekend he has a new challenge ahead of him - the first tournament of the World Premier League in Istanbul.
Tennis players Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić won the winner's title at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament (Rotterdam Open) in Rotterdam. In Sunday’s finals they overcame Germany’s Kevin Krawietz and Romania's Horia Tecău with 7-6(9), 6-2. It is their third tournament title out of this year’s four performances, where they finished in the semifinals only at the Australian Open. With this kind of form, they would be top Olympic aces for the Olympic Games in Tokyo. (NOC of Croatia/VK)
The Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO) congratulates judokas Barbara Matić and Karla Prodan on winning silver medals at the Grand Slam in Uzbekistan, as well as tennis players Nikola Mektić and Mate Pavić and karateka Ivan Kvesić on tournament victories in the Netherlands and France, wishing them all to win the "visas" for achieving their Olympic ambitions this summer in Tokyo!