Croatia Beach Handball Takes Gold at 2022 World Games in Alabama!

Daniela Rogulj

Updated on:

Cabraja / @kolektiffimages
Cabraja / @kolektiffimages

The Croatia men’s senior national team defeated Qatar 2-1 (14-17, 20-16, 9-6) in the final of the World Games and won their first gold at the World Games and the 33rd beach handball medal in Croatia.

The World Games in Birmingham are the fifth edition in which the Croatia men’s senior beach handball team participates. From previous competitions, the seniors have won three bronze medals (Germany 2005, Taiwan 2009, Colombia 2013) and one silver (Poland 2017), and the rich collection lacked gold. However, with the victory against the national team of Qatar in the final, that goal was achieved.

In the first set of the final, Qatar was more successful and went to halftime with 14-17. In the second set, Croatia was better and forced the game into a shootout after 20-16. After a flawless shootout, the final score was 2-1 for Croatia! 

Dominik Marković was declared the tournament’s best goalkeeper, while Lucian Bura once again won the title of the best right winger.

Coach Mladen Paradžik, national team captain Ivan Jurić, and national team member Josip Leko shared their impressions after the final.

“The boys won another gold this year. We deservedly won the two big competitions with the pure mentality of a winner, which adorns this team the most. That keeps them together, and it’s wonderful to lead such a team with your assistants. It should be noted that the boys deserved all the praise. As for the match, it was a nervous final, but that’s how it is when you’re playing for a medal, and I’d say that was expected given the importance of the match. A great conclusion to the season. We are still waiting for the second stage of the Beach Handball Global Tour in Spain. Our goal has been achieved, and now we are striving towards the future and the Olympics. In the end, I would like to say that these medals are very important for us because they would not be possible without the work of the Croatian Handball Federation and all the people who stand behind this medal. It’s not a small number of people; it’s not just ten players. It is the product of the systematic and synchronized work of everyone involved, and I am very grateful to them for that,” coach Mladen Paradžik said.

“We are thrilled to be champions for the first time in the history of the Croatia national team. The first gold at the World Games, the most massive event after the Olympic Games. It’s an event for those sports that aspire to join the Olympic family. After three bronze and one silver, the gold finally arrived. The match was tough; Qatar was a great opponent. They read our game in the first set. In the second set, we stepped up our game in attack; with a good defense in the first and second half, we managed to win and go to the shootout. We are returning to Croatia with full hearts and happiness,” said captain Ivan Jurić after the final.

“The first gold at the World Games. That was our goal. This summer, we won everything we could, which only means that we prepared well and that our heads were in the right place. As for the match, in the first set, we played defense, and we conceded less than 18 goals, which is always our goal. We were not concentrated on the attack, which led to the victory of Qatar in the first set. But we didn’t lose our heads; we played our game, and all scored in the shootout. We are thrilled and delighted and hope there will be more gold medals at the World Games,” said Josip Leko.

Recall, after the Croatia junior beach handball team brought home the gold medal at the world championships last month, the senior Croatia beach handball team recorded their third world championship title at the 2022 Men’s Beach Handball World Championships in Greece. In the final match, Croatia was better than Denmark 2-0 (24-22, 21-18). Lucian Bura was named the best right-winger and the top scorer of the championship then, too. 

Source: BHC

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