Varaždin: Where You’ll Find the Most Celebrated Coaches in Croatia

Daniela Rogulj

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Did you know that most celebrated coaches in Croatia come from Varaždin?

The mayor of Varaždin, Ivan Čehok, received Croatia’s famed sports coaches with a Varaždin address on Monday, and pointed out that Varaždin has the most coaches per capita, reports on January 26, 2019. 

On this occasion, the mayor welcomed the Croatia national football team coach and World Cup finalist Zlatko Dalić, the tennis national team coach and Davis Cup winner Željko Krajan, the savate coach Predrag Šimunec, table tennis coach Tian Yuan, who came to Varaždin 19 years ago, coach of the women’s bowling team Darinka Bunić, and Mario Rodeš, who came on behalf of his son, skier Istok Rodeš. 

And that’s not even all of the Varaždin coaches, as the coach of the wrestling team Alen Runac and karate team Esad Garibović were unable to attend.

Recalling the historical achievements of Croatian athletes in 2018, primarily of Croatia’s football players and tennis players led by Varaždin coaches, but also the World Cup champion in BMX, Varaždin-native Mario Ranteš, mayor Čehok emphasized that Varaždin coaches and athletes are the best ambassadors because they always pay homage to their town. 

“The people of Varaždin are proud of their fellow sportsmen. This was evident in the welcome receptions for Dalić and Krajan. These are all the people who came here, who made their sporting achievements here, who started their training in our halls and on our fields. They are all proud to proclaim that they are part of the Varaždin people, even when they were not born here, like Dalić. But they always point out that they can thank our city for what they have achieved in the sport,” said Čehok, adding that the City of Varaždin can proudly say that it has the most active athletes and the highest number of first-league players concerning the number of inhabitants.

Zlatko Dalić stressed that no city in the world has so many coaches and sporting achievements. About winning second place in the Russia World Cup, Dalić said that the quality of Croatian footballers was never in question, but that a team needed to be made of them. Davis Cup representative Željko Krajan added that the football success was an incentive for other athletes and teams in Croatia.

“They gave us extra motivation, we all believed in sports miracles,” Krajan said.

The excellent slalom results of Istok Rodeš in the World Cup were also mentioned, where he ranked among the top 30 skiers. The coach of the savate team Predrag Šimunec emphasized the world and European titles of the Croatian fighters, and table tennis coach Tian Yuan, who came to Varaždin as a player and stayed, is pleased to lead the Croatia team. The coach of the women’s bowling team recalled the great success of the young Croatian bowlers.

“The girls are last year’s world junior champion, and they have won 19 medals. They can progress in the national team, and we wish to win the medal at the World Senior Championship in May in the Czech Republic,” said Bunić.

Denis Mladenović from the Community of Sports Associations of the City of Varaždin was also in attendance to announce the development of a sports development strategy in Varaždin.

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