Over 90 Croatian Athletes Expected to Compete in Tokyo Olympics

Daniela Rogulj

February 25, 2020 – In exactly five months, the 32nd Olympic Games will begin in Tokyo. Croatian athletes will try to surpass the record-breaking Rio Games in 2016, when they won an incredible ten medals, five of which were gold, three silver, and two bronze. There are 110 Croatian athletes in the Tokyo Olympic Program. 

Gol.hr reports that the fantastic pictures from four years ago, featuring Sandra Perkovic, the Sinkovic brothers, Josip Glasnovic, Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic, as well as the sensational Sara Kolak, have not yet faded. But soon, new Olympic thrills await us. We believe there will be new medals, too.

For the first time since 2008, the Croatia table tennis team will compete in the Olympic Games.

“I would just like to avoid China, everyone else we can handle,” wished Andrej Gacina.

“We are preparing in our heads to try to surprise everyone,” Neven Karkovic said.

The Croatia handball team has yet to qualify for Tokyo and will fight to win a spot at the strong qualifying tournament in France. In addition to the hosts, Croatia will play against Portugal and Tunisia. The two best teams will go to Japan.

The Croatia water polo team will also fight for a spot at the Games in the Netherlands. Their opponents will be Germany, Russia, the Netherlands, Argentina, and an Asian representative. The top four teams from each group will play in the quarterfinals. The winners will go to the semifinals, and the three top-ranked teams will qualify for Tokyo.

The Croatia basketball team needs to qualify, too and will play a qualifying tournament in Split against Brazil and Tunisia. If Croatia tops the group, they will play either Germany, Russia or Mexico. The top two teams go to the semifinals, with only the winner of the tournament going to Tokyo.

“I believe they will qualify, and we count on having between 90 and 105 Croatian athletes in Tokyo,” said Zlatko Matesa, president of the Croatian Olympic Committee.

For the first time in her career, Kristina Tomic will compete in taekwondo, a sport that has already brought Croatia three Olympic medals.

“I will only say that my goal is no longer to go there as a tourist but to do something there,” Kristina said confidently.

Form will play a significant role, and shot-putter Filip Mihaljević wants only one thing – to be healthy for Tokyo.

“I’m slowly joining the best in the world and hoping to make it to the finals.”

Unfortunately, T.portal reported on Tuesday that the Olympic dream has ended for Robert Seligman, who will not be able to compete in the remaining two Olympic qualifying tournaments in Baku and Doha, as X-rays show he has broken his middle finger.

Seligman injured his hand on Saturday while practicing in the Melbourne World Cup final. Doctors in Australia immediately positioned and bandaged the dislocated finger, but the footage upon returning to Croatia confirmed the worst news. Robert Seligman has completed his Tokyo Olympic dream.

“We hoped it was just strained, but my finger is broken. Unfortunately, my dream of Tokyo is over. I have to rest for three weeks, which means I will miss the next two qualifying tournaments. But, I will train everything that does not interfere with my hand and stay in shape so that I can be fully prepared by May for the World Cup in Varna and, most importantly, the European Championship in Baku,” Seligman explained.

In Rio, Croatian athletes won a record ten medals. It is a feat that will be difficult to achieve, though our sports heroes have repeatedly shown that they are not afraid of the challenge.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page.


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