Luka Modric and Sandra Perkovic Named Best Croatian Athletes

Daniela Rogulj

The traditional selection of the Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO) was held on Wednesday evening for the ‘Great Day of Croatian Sports’ at the Westin Hotel in Zagreb. Luka Modric and Sandra Perkovic have thus been declared the best athletes in Croatia, while the Croatia national football team was named the best team by the Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO), reports on December 19, 2018. 

Captain of the Croatia national team (and Ballon d’Or winner) Luka Modrić is the first footballer to celebrate in this HOO category, while Perkovič has been the best for the seventh consecutive year, which has not been achieved by any other Croatian athlete.

Recall, Sandra Perković defended the title of the European Champion for the fifth time in Berlin, which is a record among both male and female athletes in all disciplines. All seven of the world’s longest throws this season are by Sandra, and only an illness prevented her from conquering the Diamond League.

Sandra won in the selection in front of shooter Snježana Pejčić, who won the bronze at the World Cup, and the European champion in taekwondo Kristina Tomić.

“For seven years in a row I am the best female athlete, I could not even dream of that. The next year will be used to get ready for the 2020 Olympic Games when I will do something indescribable,” Sandra said.

Luka Modrić had the season of his dreams – from becoming the European Champion with Real Madrid once again to becoming World Cup finalists with Croatia. Luka is the first footballer in history to win all four prestigious awards for ‘the best’ in a season. Modrić was named the best footballer at the World Cup in Russia, the world’s best footballer by FIFA, the best European footballer by UEFA, and the Ballon d’Or winner by the France Football magazine.

Modrić was chosen as the best in Croatia in competition with World Champion and Europe’s second best in karate Ivan Kvesić and two-time silver medalist at the World Championships, sports shooter Petar Gorša. As Modrić was with Real Madrid at the World Club Championship in UAE, his father Stipe received the award on his behalf.

The Croatia national football team was proclaimed the best team in Croatia, ahead of the Davis Cup team and the beach handball team. The award was received by coach Zlatko Dalić, who was also nominated for the best trainer.

“My team is still the most deserving of this award for the best coach. This great synergy has led us to the greatest success of Croatian football in history, but we hope that we can do even more. We showed that everything is possible and that the ‘small can be great’. We have good players who can create good results, we have unity in the team and we have to use it in the qualifications for the European Championship and then at the Euro,” Dalić said.

The Croatia football team also received the award for Croatia’s largest promoter in the world, which was received by the president of the Croatian Football Federation Davor Šuker.

The award for the most successful sports pair, relay or crew was awarded to rowing World and European Champions in coxless pair, brothers Valent and Martin Sinković. Just one year after they switched disciplines from double sculls, the Sinković brothers conquered the world in their new discipline. In Glasgow, they first took the European Championships and then came to Plovdiv to prevail at the World Championships. 

In this category, second place was won by another brother duo – Šime and Mihovil Fantela – who, like the Sinković brothers, also changed sailing disciplines (classes) and in Denmark, Aarhus sensationally became World Champions in the 49er class.

The most successful women’s team was declared the Croatia karate team, consisting of Ana Marija Bujas Čelan, Ana Lenard, Marina Barac and Alesandra Hassani, who won the bronze at the European Championships. The karate team celebrated in front of the crossbow national team and the volleyball team.

A special HOO award for the promotion of sports went to the Croatian men’s tennis team, who won the Davis Cup over France in Lille for the second time in history.

Cyclist Marin Ranteš won the HOO award for fairplay, and Morana Paliković Gruden was awarded the Trophy of the International Olympic Committee “Olympians in Action” in the Gender Equality category.

Finally, the special HOO award “Matija Ljubek” was given to Vjekoslav Šafranić and Branko Omazić from Zagreb, Danko Jerković and Ante Tanfara from Šibenik, and Handball Club Rudar from Ruda near Samobor.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković also attended the ceremony, and congratulated Croatia’s athletes on their great success.

“All of Croatia is living with your successes, which are the successes of Croatia, and you have proven that we are a nation with a winning mentality and character. We all followed the World Cup in Russia which was a mega event that went beyond the scope of sports. And it was nice to follow our tennis players who won the Davis Cup in Lille and got the ’sweet revenge’ on our French friends. The role of the state and the government is to encourage Croatian sport, so we have increased the budget of the Central State Office for Sport from 200 to 300 million kuna, and we started withdrawing funds from the European Social Fund for sport projects,” said Plenković.

In addition, Minister of Finance Zdravko Marić, former national team football coach Miroslav Ćiro Blažević, and special guest Japanese Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia, Keiji Takeguchi attended the event.

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


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