Croatian Athletes in Corona Crisis: Olympics on Schedule, Nowhere to Train

Daniela Rogulj

March 20, 2020 – With each passing day, Croatian athletes are one step closer to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, though the coronavirus crisis isn’t doing them any favors.

After it was announced that the Tokyo Olympics would remain on schedule for July 24 to August 9, madness ensued for athletes who had yet to qualify for the Games, reports

Many qualifying tournaments have been canceled, and the situation is even worse because they have been banned from practicing at their fields, pools, and gyms. 

There is no doubt that swimmers are particularly affected by these bans.

“We have the most problems with training, since all facilities are closed,” said Croatia swim team coach Lovrenco Franicevic.

For now, the games have been secured by the Split stars Franko Grgić and Marin Mogić. But many Croatian athletes are in trouble.

“With this Decision I can’t train, but there can be a solution. It is not many of us that need to be able to train, only around a hundred people,” said President of the Croatian Athletic Association Ivan Vestic.

On the other hand, instructions were issued to close sports fields, sports halls, and gyms. Croatian athletics have four representatives so far, and several that are very close to qualifying. 

The Croatian Karate Federation celebrates 50 years. Ivan Kvesic sent them the best congratulations by qualifying for the Olympic Games. Karate will make its debut at the Summer Olympics in 2020, which resulted in earlier qualifications. 

Concerning basketball, Croatia is hunting for a spot at the Games, which they’ll need to win at a qualifying tournament to be held in Split at the end of June.

“I don’t know, I think it’s going to be difficult to play in that qualifying term because we don’t know what the NBA is going to say. Because if the NBA league is going to play the full format after the break, then we’re going to be without NBA players,” said the Croatian Basketball Federation president Stojko Vranković.

The Croatia basketball team will only go to the Games if they win this tournament, which the government has allocated over 20 million kuna for so far. 

“The money that the Croatian government paid, if the tournament does not take place, we have to get back. So that we are not in a situation where the tournament is canceled on May 15 or June 1 and we have already paid 80, 90 percent of the funds,” concludes Vranković.

The following days are uncertain for Croatian Olympians and those who dream of becoming one. Given the current circumstances, we can hardly expect much.

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


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