Hosting the European Championships brings back memories of the great triumph of 2010.
As soon as the Croatian hosting of the European Water Polo Championships is mentioned, associations are evoked to the great generation that brought us the historic, first title of Continental Champion 12 years ago, under the leadership of the legendary Ratko Rudić. It was also a hint of a new fantastic venture, as just two years later, our water polo players won the title of Olympic champion in London. Two colossal triumphs in barely two years…
I believe that the unforgettable images of the celebration at the ‘Mladost’ swimming pool in 2010 will inspire ambitions for a new rise to the top of Europe. But regardless of the status of the host, imperatives should be excluded.
There is no doubt that Split and the people of Split will give their utmost support to the selected national team in a sport that has made their city very famous. As it is one of the sports that have the most trophies in our country, the expectations of fans will generally be met with a large dose of optimism. Late August and early September are the ideal time for the fans’ ‘warm-up’, which in Croatia’s case will definitely culminate before and during the World Cup in Qatar at the end of the year.
I wish coach Tuck and his team a very successful performance, and by that I mean, without false modesty, climbing the winner’s podium. In team sports, such as water polo, it is time to achieve a respectable result that will be reflected in the new Olympic challenge in Paris in 2024. After all, it is time for creating the backbone of the national team, which I believe will delight us with Olympic performance in the French capital in two years.
For now, let them do so against the strong continental competition in our home pool! Good luck!
Dr. sc. Zlatko Mateša,
President of the Croatian Olympic Committee