December 27, 2020 – The best Croatian athletes of the year in Sportske Novosti’s traditional selection are judoka Barbara Matic and handball player Domagoj Duvnjak!
HRT reports that judoka Barbara Matic became the first martial arts athlete to win the Sportske Novosti trophy, in the competition of her national teammate Karla Prodan, a bronze medalist from the European Championships in Prague, the best Croatian tennis player Petra Martic, and world diving record holder Mirela Kardasevic.
Domagoj Duvnjak, the second handball player after Ivan Balic (2007) to be named the best athlete of the year, won his first Sportske Novosti trophy as the best player of the European Championships in Austria, Norway, and Sweden. His competitors for the award were national football team member Ivan Perisic, the winner of the triple crown with Bayern, the best Croatian skier Filip Zubcic, bronze medalist at the World Laser Sailing Championship Tonci Stipanovic and three European finalists in gymnastics Tin Srbic, Filip Ude and Aurel Benovic.
“I am honored to receive this award,” said Barbara Matic and explained how she chose judo:
“At Pujanke Elementary School, I could choose between ballet and judo, and I chose judo,” said Matic, who in 2020 won a gold medal at the Grand Slam Judo Tournament in Budapest, and on the way to the gold, defeated World and Olympic champions.
“Barbara, with her sporting success, became a master of mechanical engineering and shipbuilding; she used the time of the pandemic in the best possible way, to finish college,” says the president of HJS Hrvoje Lindi.
Domagoj Duvnjak was the best player at the European Handball Championships held in January, where Croatia won the silver medal. This is his first Sportske Novosti award.
“An exceptional honor; I am proud of this award. Of all the accolades I have ever received, this award is my favorite. Being the best athlete in his country sounds like a dream,” said Duvnjak, who received 150 votes.
Sportske Novosti adds that the Croatia women’s handball team is the best team of the year, collecting as many as 231 votes. They shocked the nation and won the European bronze and deservedly the epithet of the best women’s sports team in 2020.
The men’s handball team also won the Sportske Novosti award after becoming European finalists in January, receiving 245 votes.
267 sports journalists from 52 newsrooms voted in the Sportske Novosti awards this year.
To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.