Croatia: Summer of Sporting Brilliance

The answer to a question how a small country like Croatia can excel so well at sports is simple: Croatians are naturally talented! They work hard too – the drive and potential to succeed seem to be in the genes.

Here’s some examples of how Croatians have excelled in sports on the international scene so far this summer – and it’s only half way through!

Donna Vekic

Donna Vekic

At the threshold of summer, June 15, young Donna Vekic beat Magdalena Rybarikova in semi-finals at WTA (Women’s Tennis Association) Aegon Classic in Birmingham UK – ushering another great summer for Croats in sporting glory.

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic

Marin Cilic, the runner-up to Andy Murray at Queens June 19 moved into the second round of the 2013 Wimbledon Tennis Championship as he defeated 2006 Australian Open finalist and 2006 Wimbledon semifinalist Marcos Baghdatis in straight sets 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 On 24 June 2013. Pulled out of competition due to injury, June 26.

Croatian Mediterranean Games athletes 2013

Croatian Mediterranean Games athletes 2013

July 1, Croatia won a total of 24 medals, including 11 gold, at the Mediterranean Games in Turkey, making it Croatia’s most successful Mediterranean Games in its history. Croatia finished 9th on the medal tally out of 24 nations.

Ana Konjuh

Ana Konjuh

Winning the junior Australian Open, her first senior tour title in Montpellier, making the semi-finals at the junior French Open and making the semi-finals of junior Wimbledon, 2013 has been one hell of a year for promising Croatian junior tennis player Ana Konjuh. The 15-year-old Dubrovnik-born teen had beaten Ukrainian Anhelina Kalinina in straight sets 6:3, 6:2 on July 4 to advance to the semi-finals at the All England club. Croatia’s Wimbledon legend Goran Ivanisevic believes that Konjuh will be a future world top 10 player.

Blanka Vlasic

Blanka Vlasic

Croatian high jump champion Blanka Vlasic came third at a Diamond League meeting in Paris on Saturday 6 July by clearing 198 cm. This was Vlasic’s tenth appearance in Paris, where she has won five times. She scored the best results in 2007 and 2010 by clearing 202 cm. Paris was her fourth Diamond League meeting this season. She was first in New York, clearing 194 cm, third in Rome (195 cm) and fifth in Oslo (190 cm). Her season best this year was in Buhl, where she cleared 200 cm.

Croatian Handball team summer 2013

Croatian Beach Handball team summer 2013

The Croatian beach handball team is the champion of Europe again. Croatia claimed their 3rd European Beach Handball title in Denmark over the weekend of July 15 by beating Russia in the final 2:0 (24:18, 21:16).  The victory means that Croatia has now won the most beach handball trophies out of any other country in Europe. Up until the Denmark tournament Croatia, Spain and Russia all had claimed 2 European Championships.

Ivo Karlovic

Ivo Karlovic

Croatian tennis player Ivo Karlovic has capped off a remarkable recovery from a near career ending illness just weeks before July 22 to claim his first ATP tournament in five years on Sunday. The giant from Salata in Zagreb only returned to the professional circuit this July after a three-month absence, including one month in a Miami hospital bed with viral meningitis. Karlovic had a straight-set win over local player Alejandro Falla in the Claro Open Colombia final on Sunday 6-3, 7-6 in an hour and 18 minutes. Karlovic did not lose his serve the whole tournament.

Ivan Rakitic

Ivan Rakitic

Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitic has July 23 been named captain of Spanish side Sevilla FC for the 2013-14 La Liga season. The 25-year-old was given the honour whilst the club was at a pre-season tournament in Columbia. Fazio, Navarro and Reyes have been named as Rakitic’s vice-captains. Rakitic joins Croatian teammates Darijo Srna and Stipe Pletikosa as national team players who wear the captain’s armband for their clubs.

Croatian Thai Kickboxing Team 2013

Croatian Thai Kickboxing Team 2013

Croatia has another European Champion, this time in the sport of Thai Kickboxing. Helena Jurisic, from the Dalmatian city of Split, has won July 31 gold at the European Thai Kickboxing Champs in Portugal in the U-71kg category after beating the strong Russian Velichkina Elena in the final. The victory is great preparation for Helena who will compete in the World K-1 Championships in Brazil in October. The European Thai Kickboxing Championships in Portugal was a successful one for Croatia with Marija Bodac winning bronze in the U-60kg, Mihovil Cuzic bronze in the U-81kg men’s and Hela Cuzic winning the junior U-67kg category and Anto Siric silver in the U-75kg category.

Stipe Perica (Right)

Stipe Perica (Right)

New Chelsea FC coach Jose Mourihno got his Croatian man. No, the suave Portuguese tactician has not signed the legendary Luka Modric, but the 18-year-old striker Stipe Perica. Perica, who plays for FC Zadar in the Croatian 1st division, will move to Stamford Bridge for a undisclosed sum, the club announced on Thursday Aug 1. Perica, who played for Croatia at the U20 World Cup recently, is a 6’3 tall, strong, athlete and has been compared to legendary Croatian striker Alen Boksic.

Jelena Kovacevic

Jelena Kovacevic

Croatian karate talent Jelena Kovacevic on Saturday August 3 won a silver medal at the World Games held in Cali, Columbia.

Croatian Waterpolo Team

Croatian Waterpolo Team

The Croatian men’s Water Polo team has claimed its 4th bronze medal at a World Championship after finishing 3rd at the 2013 World Water Polo Championships held in Barcelona, August 3.

Goran Ivanisevic

Goran Ivanisevic

August 5, hundreds turned up on Dubrovnik’s main strip – Stradun – when it transformed into a miniature tennis court on the weekend for ‘Kids Day’ to end off the Dubrovnik  International Tennis Camp, which was run by Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic.

FC Dinamo Croatia

FC Dinamo Croatia

Dinamo Zagreb Champions of the World After Beating AC Milan at Old Trafford in Manchester UK, August 10.

Sandra Perkovic

Sandra Perkovic

August 11, Croatia’s London 2012 Olympic Games Discus champion Sandra Perkovic won a gold medal in women’s discus throw at the World Championship in Moscow. Her winning distance was 67.99 metres. By winning the World Championship, Perkovic won everything one can win in her discipline. Apart from the Olympics, she won the European Championship twice – Barcelona 2010 and Helsinki 2012. Perkovic also took gold in the Mediterranean Games in Mersin and she already secured the second overall victory in the Diamond League.

Alen Halilovic

Alen Halilovic

Tottenham have identified the ‘next Luka Modric’ and are reported to be closing in on a deal for Dinamo Zagreb star Alen Halilovic,  13 August 2013

Luka Modric

Luka Modric

According to fresh news reports, Manchester United are now keeping tabs on the ever-changing situation and could launch a surprise bid and hijack their Premier League rivals efforts; rumours have it that Manchester United has been in contact with Real Madrid with view to securing the Croatian football super talent Luka Modric.

Sports require sponsors, powerful patrons, or greater state support, especially at the local level, and that currently places Croatia in an unfavourable position because Croatia is a relatively poor country in required infrastructure and supporting opportunities from both business and government.  This means that many sporting talents have scattered across Europe and the western world in pursuit of success – they all, though, consider themselves Croatian and wear the Croatian flag at competitions. The pride in being Croatian goes with them wherever they go – how good is that! Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Comments

  1. Croats have always competed Whether in sports or in WAR
    Complete three decades unquenchable will, iron discipline and complete devotion to the Croatian flag and the imperial crown proudly and courageously, the beautiful noble horses, the predecessors, bringing up the rear, the sides imperial armies of the Catholic League ride and fight Croats drape their distinctive red cloaks, the colorful uniforms under iron kalpacima and plumes, adorned with gold and silver, is always ready for anything. History remembers them as great warriors and soldiers who have provoked and brought death to the opponent, got the deep echelon opponents or appeared suddenly in the deep background of the opponent, spreading before him fear, dread and anxiety. Skillfully using the spooky effect of rumors that have spread themselves and panic that appeared in the opposing ranks, their frightening appearance and exaggeration in the stories that are invulnerable – these proud warriors Croats several times on the battlefield achieved greater effects than other soldiers and achieved what others have not might or might not dare. Cer by Croats in the Thirty Years War all European fronts, cutting, burning, pillaging, bleeding and letting themselves be killed blind faith – for the king and the home. Supreme Commander of the Catholic League duke Wallenstein in the fight believed only Croats, so she wrote: “The Germans are bulky, heavy and slow riders, Hungarians are unreliable and shifty, Poles quickly disperse in search of prey, Moldovans do not want to go away from their homes, Vlachs are sold for little money, but the Croats – they hit hard on the group and it is always where it is needed most, at a discount almost never … ‘
    Croats as warriors – riders his rich military experience developed in endurance and constant battles with the Turks, only in attack but also in defense where it is most sensitive. Historians have recorded many names for Croats – Insulaner, the name for almost Zrinski great soldiers who are natives of Medjimurje Wenden is again the name of Croats from the area between the rivers Drava and Kupa, Uskocken and Granitscharen again indicate the names of Croats. At the time of this terrible Thirty Years’ dance of death at the scene of the war the entire European continent, the battlefield would first spoke heavy and light artillery, then started to gallop armored emptying their heavy and bulky guns, then went persimmon – hunters, and for them the light horsemen armed with arquebuses (carbine), pistols and sabers. If the opponent echelon disrupted, began to crash classic cavalry mostly stabbing. During this time the infantry, the cavalry who looked with disdain, establishing themselves to the moving line extended spears, and on the edges of these pikenira were deployed Musketeers who emptied his musket at the opponent. Battles are actually duels regiment trying to feel it the weakest point of the opponents to the majority focused on her, and cavalry wing covers and crushes the opponent’s opposite side echelon.

    Significantly ahead of the leading Swedish army under the command of their king – the brilliant generals Gustavus Adolphus, but these yellow – white Swedish persimmon and Grenadier Guards had no luck in battle, ran to the Croats, who always knew they resist, the more times and persecute them, and one they nearly captured the camp, the chamber and the king …
    Sincerely

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  2. Good to see Goran is still active!

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  3. I would like to see if somebody can compile, post war Croatia, how many good/famous doctors, scientists, lawyers, professors, builders etc have made Croatia proud

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  4. I am not Croatian but I do own a Croatian soccer jersey. They are possibly my favorite international jersey!

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  5. now i want to go play tennis

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