Split Bowling Club Mertojak Tops One of Europe’s Best for Champions League Semifinal

Daniela Rogulj

February 16, 2020 –  KK Mertojak was fantastic in the return Champions League quarterfinal game against the champions of Italy, Neumartkt Imperial Life. 

Supported by a packed Poljud bowling alley, KK Mertojak swept one of Europe’s best professional teams with a high score of 7:1 (3677: 3595) and thus made up for the 3:5 loss from the first match, reports Dalmacija Danas.

It was a victory for the team, the community, and fans.

“This result is especially significant due to the fact that after 1999 (VK POŠK) this is the first team placement in the Champions League final four by a Split club (in a city that is considered to be one of the sportiest cities in the world). Unfortunately, at this moment, Mertojak is the only one of European value in the city of Split, and we hope that it will be recognized,” said KK Mertojak.

Mertojak’s success is building gradually, though they are already taking one step higher than last year. The next stop is Apatin, Serbia from March 28-29, where a caravan of fans will support Mertojak along the way.

The Mertojak bowling club was founded in 2006 as an amateur and neighborhood club, though they conceived it as a bowling school. They gathered a group of boys who were interested in the sport, and with proper training, good coaching and fair conditions, the results started to come. Mertojak moved from nothing to the first in the league.

They are led by Hrvoje Marinovic, the 2018 World Individual Finalist and the Mixed Doubles Finalist at the 7th World Senior Singles Championship held in Cluj, Romania. In the 2017/2018 season, the team also became the Croatian finalists, just behind Zaprešić in first.

The club initially trained at the Mertojak bowling alley, where they could work in excellent conditions. However, the owner discontinued the bowling alley for various reasons, and today, the club trains and plays at Poljud. Although it is a decent bowling alley, there are too few lanes. Due to this, and chronically small and limited financial resources, they are not able to host any competition. The city only contributes a little. 

Sponsorships are also nearly impossible in bowling, because it is not an Olympic sport.

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