Lucija Zaninović shows off her medal
- Taekwondo: Lucija Zaninović won Croatia’s fourth medal of the London Olympics on Wednesday, as she placed third in the 49kg weight class of Taekwondo. She came into the Olympics as the 5th seed won her round of 16 bout against Seulki Kang of the Central African Republic. Points are awarded for kicks and punches to the body (1 point) and kicks to the head (3 points) in Taekwondo. The European Champion dominated the fight, landing multiple head shots, and winning 14-0. She faced Carola Rodriguez of Argentina in the quarterfinals and initially went down due to a head kick but quickly took control and easily won 13-4. In the semifinals, she faced the #1 ranked fighter in the world, Jingyu Wu of China, who has lost only once in the last two years. The world’s best made easy work of Lucija, beating her 19-7 and putting her into a bronze medal match.
- She faced the sixth seed, Jannet Alegria Pena of Mexico, in her bout for a medal. Lucija went down 4-1 after the first round but landed a head kick in the second to put it at four a piece going into the decisive round. Lucija hit on a body kick to put her up one but with just 30 seconds left, Allegria threw a punch to the body to tie it and send it into a sudden death round four. The pressure was on and after both competitors trading shots but being unable to score, Lucija landed a body kick with about a minute to go and took the bronze medal!
- Lucija’s twin sister Ana, will compete in the 57kg division tomorrow as the five seed. She typically competes at a lower weight but is fighting at 57kg in order for both sisters to compete in the Olympics. She will face unranked Mayu Hamada of Japan on the round of 16.
Miho Bosković celebrates one of his two goals against the U.S
- Men’s Water Polo: Croatia got their revenge on the U.S as they absolutely crushed them in the quarterfinals 8-2. The “Barracudas” pulled away from the start at led 5-0 at halftime. Josip Pavić came up huge for Croatia, and also got some help from his posts and the defense as the Americans could not find a way to score despite Croatia getting 13 exclusions. Pavic, the best goalkeeper from the group stage in terms of save percentage, saved 12 of America’s 14 shots on target, a remarkable number. The U.S only had six exclusions, but Croatia were much more clinical on the power play, scoring four times. Damir Burić, Paulo Obradović, and Miho Bosković all scored two goals. Montenegro will be Croatia’s next opponent will be Montenegro, after they beat Spain 11-9. Montenegro finished 2nd in the European Championships this year and a close game is expected on Friday.
- Men’s Handball: Croatia had to work much harder than expected in order to advance to the handball semifinals, as they narrowly defeated Tunisia 25-23 in their quarterfinal match. Tunisia played extremely aggressive and physical defense which frustrated Croatia as they struggled to get their offense going. Tunisia took a lead early on as a result of their defending. There were numerous instances in the first half of Tunisia’s getting a far too aggressive on defense and in the 24th minute, Tunisia’s captain was shown a red card for slapping Ivan Čupić in the face. Tunisia kept up the pressure, and Croatia went down 11-12 into the half.
- Croatia took the lead early in the second half as Cupić and Manuel Štrlek were unstoppable on the wings and Tunisia began to tire. Croatia expanded their lead and it appeared they had it wrapped up only for Tunisia to storm back and bring the deficit down from five to two with two minutes to play. Domagoj Duvnjak responded with a big goal and Mirko Alilović made a critical save to secure the victory for the Croats. Ivan Čupić led all scorers with eight goals. On Friday, Croatia will face France, who beat Spain 23-22 in their semi-final. France are 5-1 at the Olympics, with their only loss coming against Iceland, the other group winner. France are the most decorated team at the Olympics, having won gold in Beijing, finished first in the past two world championships, and won the most recent European Championships. The game is at 3:30 PM ET on Friday and it’s bound to be exciting.
Ivan Horvat clears 5.35 meters
- Athletics: Ivan Horvat, at 19 years of age, came in a tie for 19th out of 32 in the pole vault prelims with a jump of 5.35 meters. 5.50 meters was the mark required to advance to the final. He had jumped 5.60 meters earlier in the year to earn a joint victory at the World Junior Championships. Look for big things from him in the future.
“A week and a half ago, I felt a pain in my ankle and began to hurt me at the first attempt at 5.50 meters. I’m happy I jumped 5:35, I saw how it looks at the big heights. I was the youngest by far in qualifying,I have time, and at RioI hope to enter the finals and be among the top ten. If I went to the finals here, it would’ve been a surprise.”-Ivan Horvat
Enia Ninčević and Romana Župan at the opening ceremonies
- Sailing: Enia Ninčević and Romana Župan finished 17th in the Women’s 470. Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic will finish up Croatia’s sailing at the Olympics with their final race tomorrow.
- Croatia has three medal contenders yet to finish competition in the Olympics (Ana Zaninović, handball, water polo). If two of the three medal, they will break the record for the most medals by Croatians in one Olympics (currently five).