The international football and tennis attention may be on London today with the Wimbledon and Euro 2020 finals, but the cream of Croatian sporting talent will be on show in the town of Petrinja for the first two days of next week, as some of Croatia’s top stars come together for Gem Set Match, a humanitarian action by the Marin Cilic Foundation to raise funds for new sporting facilities for the Dragutin Tadijanovic Elementary School, which along with the rest of the town, was badly affected by earthquakes in December 2020.
Have you ever seen Luka Modric play tennis?
I visited Petrinja and the surrounding region the day after the most devastating quake (read more in Majske Poljane, Glina, Petrinja: A Foreigner View of Croatia’s Emergency Response). Apart from the traumatic devastation, I was impressed once again at the camaraderie of Croats helping each other in time of need, as car licence plates from all over the country descended on the region with food, clothes and blankets. A truly humanitarian response.
Slowly, however, Petrinja disappeared from the headlines, and but for a few worthy private initiatives, one hears little about the reconstruction efforts. But that is about to change next week, with a very inspirational initiative from the Marin Cilic Foundation, which has managed to persuade some of Croatia’s top stars to come to Petrinja on July 12 and 13 for Gem Set Hrvatska, a 2-day tennis spectacle which will see the stars competing against each other, as well as a host of other activities.
Petrinja will be transformed into a kind of tennis village, modelled on the world’s top tennis tournaments. The main tournament itself will be held on July 13, where famous tennis stars will partner with famous stars from other sports. The tournament will take place on the recently built playground in front of Dragutin Tadijanovic Elementary School.
The two days will be filled with various activities, sport and cultural events, including cinema screenings, blood donations, sports workshops, health and entertainment activities, and plenty to eat and drink.
Entry to the two days is free, with tickets available for the tennis tournament via Entrio. Funds raised will be donated for the construction of sporting facilities.
And what a line-up of stars confirmed so far. In addition to Cilic, they include Luka Modric, Marijo Mandzukic, Mate Pavic & Nikola Mektic (fresh from their Wimbledon triumph), Borna Coric, Ivan Dodig, Donna Vekic, Mateo Kovacic, Ivan Perisic, and Ante Rebic.
A fabulous gesture from them all, and it promises to be an amazing and memorable event for the children of Petrinja.
You can learn more about Gem Set Hrvatska on the official website.