A Croatian taekwondo fight off to Rio.
Croatian taekwondo fighter Filip Grgić has qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro this summer, after he won the silver medal in the 68-kilogram category at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Istanbul, reports Index.hr on January 17, 2016.
The member of the Metalac Taekwondo Club from Zagreb achieved the greatest success of his career thanks to three wins on his way to the tournament finals, where he lost to the first seed of the tournament Karol Robak from Poland. The result in the final was 22-7 for the Polish fighter who won the gold medal.
In round of sixteen, Grgić defeated Bosnian national team member Emir Kaljanac 6-3. The most dramatic fight was the one in the quarterfinals, where Grgić managed to defeat Ilan Braginski from Israel 7-6, thanks to a “golden point”. The semi-final fight was the key for going to Rio, and Grgić easily defeated Serbian national team member Damir Fejzić 16-9.
Unfortunately, Croatian national team member in the 58-kilogram category Lovre Brečić was defeated in the first round by Stepan Dimitrov from Moldavia.
“I feel great. When I won the World Championship gold in 2007, I said that the Olympic Games were my ultimate goal. I am still very emotional and ecstatic. I have been in this sport since I was four years old, and it is hard to say who was the most important for this success. I had to work hard for this”, said Grgić. “Each and every fight in the qualification tournament was difficult, but I would single out my victory over Fejzić in the semi-finals. He stopped me in the qualifications for the Olympics in London, so I was especially glad to have defeated him this time.”
Filip Grgić did not want to discuss the recent decision by the Croatian Taekwondo Federation about which fighters would be able to try to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. The decision has caused great controversy because the best ranked Croatian fighter Vedran Golec stayed at home due to the decision by the Federation Managing Board. “For the last three months, I have been working hard and nothing else. I have turned off my mobile phone and radio. I have no comment, but I want to thank the Federation and coach Toni Tomas”, said Grgić.