Final Olympic Preparations: Matija Marinić, Anamarija Govorčinović, and Vanesa Tot Ready for Tokyo

Daniela Rogulj

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Marinić travels to Japan on Monday, and the other two athletes two and a half weeks later.

Anamarija Govorčinović is the first Croatian kayaker on calm waters to participate in the Olympic Games, and Vanesa Tot is the first Croatian canoeist to win a place in this prestigious competition. In addition, Matija Marinić will compete in the canoe slalom on wild waters, a discipline in which Croatia already had representatives at the Olympic Games.


“Seconds separated me from performing at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Since I have been dreaming of competing in the Olympics all my life, I was pleased when I managed to qualify for the Tokyo Games three years later. I look forward to the race. I will do my best to win a performance at the end of the competition, and then anything is possible. I hope that I will return to Croatia with a medal,” said 31-year-old Matija Marinić, who has his last training before leaving for the Japanese capital on the Zagreb part of the Sava.

His coach Stjepan Perestegi has high expectations for his performance at the Olympic Games.

“In recent months, Matija has shown what and how much he can do. He won gold in the race in Tacen and bronze in Solkan. Therefore, he goes to Tokyo extremely well prepared. We will arrive on the trail next week; we will work on technique and tactics. We met the trial at the end of 2019. It is an artificial track that is technically very demanding. Now we need to adopt it in its entirety, and Matija needs to work on concentration and visualization because one wrong move can take him away from the desired result,” said Stjepan Perestegi.


He added that due to epidemiological restrictions, Marinić will not have strength training in the hotel next to the trail where he will be accommodated for the first two weeks after arriving in Japan, but that he hopes that this will not affect his physical condition. Perestegi reckons that the explosiveness he possesses will bring Marinić closer to the podium.

Twenty-four-year-old Anamarija Govorčinović also intends to do her best.

“Performing at the Olympic Games is my dream that will come true. I will give my maximum and hope for the best. I am aware of how strong the competition is there, but that it is not enough to achieve your best time for a medal. It also takes a little luck,” said Anamarija Govorčinović during training in Zagreb.


24-year-old Vanesa Tot, who trains intensively for the Olympic Games in Slavonski Brod, failed to meet with journalists in Zagreb with Matija Marinić and Anamarija Govorčinović.

Members of the Croatian Kayak Association in Tokyo expect stringent epidemiological rules. Marinić and Perestegi revealed that they had already received detailed instructions on protection against coronavirus infection. Athletes come to Japan in groups every two weeks. The groups do not mix with each other, and athletes will be able to enter the Olympic Village only a week before the Games. They will measure their own temperature and enter data about it into one of two applications created for epidemiological reasons. Every other day, athletes will need to test their saliva to successfully prevent the spread of the infection in the event of a coronavirus outbreak.


The Olympic Games will be held from July 23 to August 8, 2021.

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