On the wings of more than three thousand spectators, who zealously cheered Croatian athletes on the second day, the European Championships in Athletics – 2nd Division Croatian Athletic Team finished fifth with a total of 306 points, which was also the fourth-ranked Latvia. Placement in the First League was ultimately won by Estonia with 336.5 points, ahead of the second-ranked Slovenia with 321 points and third Denmark with 313 points.
– Athletics in its most beautiful edition happened in Varaždin! We had an unprecedented atmosphere, full of the most beautiful emotions, a great audience and our national team members who were motivated and showered to perform at this top athletic event. Before this competition, I announced that we would fight to become a League Two, and we fought for the very top, thanks to the enthusiasm, desire and emotions of our athletes. If we were complete, if we were not hurt by our injuries during the preparations, we would have won a higher ranking in this competition. Thanks to the Varazdin audience, it was impressive. This competition will remain in my memory forever – said Mladen Katalinić, the coach of the Croatian athletic team.
Sunday started with the men’s pole vault discipline. Celebrated Latvian Mareks Arents who jumped 5.50 meters, finished second with Cypriot Nikandros Stylianou of the same height, while finished third with Estonian Robin Nool with 5.20 meters.
Fourth was our Ivan Horvat, junior junior world champion, well below his personal best of 5.76 meters.
Horvat exceeded the height of 5.20, later breaking the batten twice at 5.40, while in the third attempt he toppled the batten at 5.50 meters.
– Feelings are mixed. I had this injury to the back lodge and this competition was a leg test. Nothing hurt and I jumped with a pole I needed to jump 5.40 or 5.50 meters. I did my best, my leg endured, but I’m a little sad for the Varaždin audience because she didn’t see my high jumps – said Ivan Horvat.
Very interesting was the 110m hurdles race. Namely, the race started from the third attempt and was celebrated by Cipranin Milan Trajković, this year’s European indoor champion in the 60 meters hurdles.
– We had technical problems at the start. We did a good job, scored 12 points for the team. We still have a month and a half to go to the World Cup and it will be the highlight of the season – said Milan Trajković, who celebrated with a score of 13.73, with Dane Andreas Martinsen (13.87) in second place, and Bulgaria’s Stanislav Stankov (14.41).
In the 800 meters he celebrated Denmark’s Andreas Bube with a score of 1:48:59, which has two silver medals from the European indoor and outdoor championships.
One of the main stars of the European Team Championship Ivet Lalova – Collio on Sunday added her second victory in two days. After celebrating 100 meters on Saturday, Bulgaria won the 200 meters on Sunday with a score of 22.99.
– I am happy. I did my job and scored a maximum of 12 points for the team. It was wonderful in Varaždin. The organization is great, and we had a great time. It was a pleasure to be here”, added Lalova, Collio.
The second place in the 200m was won by Slovenian Maja Mihalec with a personal record of 23.03, while the third place was won by Latvian Gunta Vaicule (23.51).
Sloboda Stadium erupted in the men’s 3000m race, beating Dino Bošnjak by a score of 8: 01.29.
– An incredible race, incredible atmosphere. I was tormented by some injuries, and I started off really bad at first. In the finish line I could not hear myself breathing, madness – said Bošnjak, who scored 12 points for Croatia.
The same number of points was won by local audience favorite Sara Kolak, who started her career at Freedom 10 years ago.
– This is where it all began. I felt the support of the Varazdin audience, it was a pity that it did not take my spear even further. I am pleased to have won the maximum number of points for my national team, although I can do much, much better – Kolak said after the victory.
Her winning shot was 57.97 meters, second place was won by Slovenian Martina Ratej (56.87 m), while third was Latvian Gundega Griva (51.41 m).
– It was brilliant, it’s an amazing experience to be a part of this team. So many positive emotions, we motivated each other, cheered for the most successful performance, this result brought our team spirit. I would especially like to thank the audience who further motivated us at this, the most beautiful stadium I have performed at. It was dense to perform in Varaždin – said Sven Cepuš, third in the 800m race.
Satisfied with the result of the Croatian athletics team, the organization and the great atmosphere in Varaždin, Ivan Veštić, president of the Croatian athletics team, was also pleased.
– It was worth it! It was worth the hard work and putting a lot of effort into this high-end athletic event. We knew that we had great individuals, Sandra, Sara, Filipa, Ana, who would bring us points, but the essence of this competition is that all competitors bring points to their national team, it turned out that we were very successful with the Varaždin audience. Athletics has brought us a lot of joy again – said the President of the Croatian Athletic Association.