Bruno Bošnjak and Anđela Mužinić Named Croatia’s Best Athletes with Disabilities

Daniela Rogulj

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The snowboarding bronze medalist at the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, Bruno Bošnjak, and the bronze medalist of the Table Tennis World Championships in Celje, Anđela Mužinić, was declared the best Croatian athletes with disabilities in 2018 in the selection of the Croatian Paralympic Board (HPO), reports HRT on January 31, 2019. 

Bošnjak entered history as an athlete who brought Croatia’s first medal at the Winter Paralympics and is currently in Canada where he is expected to perform in the North American Cup and the World Cup in the Banked Slalom and Snowboard Cross.

In Slovenia, the young Split native reached her first medal in individual competition at the World Championships and a total of ten medals at major tournaments. At the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Mužinić won the silver with Helena Dretar Karić in pairs. They also won silver and bronze at the World Championships, and three gold and the bronze at the team European Championships, while Anđela also has two silver medals in individual competitions at the European Championships.

The winner of the award for the most successful coach in 2018 was Slobodan Glavčić, the swimming coach of Dino Sinovčić, who won the 100m gold medal at the European Championships in Dublin.

The award for the most successful team was awarded to the team of sports fishermen, Ivica Bonino Hasan, Mensur Rošić, Zeljko Kljaić, Nikola Geček and Zlatko Poparić, who won the gold medal at the World Championships in Međimurje.

The best athletes in non-Olympic sports are sports fishermen Nikola Geček and bowler Ruža Markešić. Geček won the gold at the World Championships in sports fishing in the individual and team competition, while Markešić won two gold and tee silver at the European Championships for the blind and visually impaired in Romania.

The most successful young athletes with disabilities are judoist Jelena Brešković, skier Lucija Smetiško and swimmer Luka Plemenčić.

Last year, HPO awarded the “Milka Milinković” prize in memory of our famous Paralympian as an acknowledgement for many years of work on the development of sports for people with disabilities. This year the award was given to Dubravka Ciliga, associate professor at the Faculty of Kinesiology in Zagreb.

The winner of the special award for ‘Outstanding Contribution to Media Promotion for Sports of Disabled Persons’ is a journalist of Croatian Radio – Radio Split, Ivona Jakić.

“The past year was exhilarating and full of great achievements on Croatian and international sports grounds. Our athletes made sure that almost no day in 2018 passed without a medal. Namely, they won 318, including 115 gold, 98 silver and 105 bronze. Guided by enthusiasm, passion, perseverance, and the love of sport, often in unmanageable working conditions, they once again managed to raise the bar – namely, for the first time in history, they won medals at the Winter Paralympics. This is how we placed ourselves as 18th in the world, in the company of 24 countries that won medals at the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games,” said President of the Croatian Paralympic Committee (HPO) Ratko Kovačić at a ceremony held at the Congress Hall of the Zagreb Fair.

The HPO President stressed that athletes with disabilities have a new challenge ahead. 

“The Paralympic Games in Tokyo are expected next year, and I am confident that with the same work and effort, will and courage, we will write some new pages of sports history. I will, therefore, conclude with the wise words that the American President Theodor Roosevelt said in the last century, and are still true today: “Believe you can and you’re halfway there,” he stressed.

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