However, by entering the semifinal, they secured the bronze medal, their second Paralympic medal in their career after winning silver five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, reports HRT.
It is the second medal for Croatia in Tokyo after Velimir Šandor’s silver in the discus throw.
The Tokyo semifinal was a replay of the Rio de Janeiro semifinal. But this time, Mi Gyu Lee and Jiyu Yoon celebrated 2-0.
Yoon and Lee first won doubles with 3-1 (11-7, 11-9, 7-11, 11-7), and then Yoon beat Mužinić 3-0 (11-7, 11-9, 11- 4), so the match between Helena and Mi Gyu was not needed. In the second semifinal, China defeated Italy 2-1.
“This time, it didn’t work; they were too strong,” said Dretar Karić.
“However, we must be happy and proud of this bronze,” added the 42-year-old from Varaždin.
South Korea opened the match by winning two sets, and after Croatia reduced it to 1-2, it seemed as if it’d be a replay of Rio when Croatia lost 0-2 and finally celebrated with 3-2. But this time, they weren’t as lucky.
“They have made a lot of progress, and today they were better. In the second set, we found great tactics, and we played well until the end of the match, but that was not enough. My individual match was not good. I lost security after losing to Yoon in singles. I couldn’t find a solution for her game.”
In addition to two Paralympic medals, Mužinić and Dretar Karić also won silver (2017) and bronze (2014) at the world championships and four golds (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019) and bronze (2011) at the European team championships.
“We have been European champions for many years,” said Anđela.
Next year, this Croatian duo will have a new text, the World Cup, and in three years, there will be a new Paralympic Games in Paris.
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