Dear water polo friends,
My home country Croatia is known in the world for many things, including the necktie, a fashion accessory given to the world by our ancestors. Croatia is also known for its natural beauty, especially its beautifully indented coastline and thousands of islands, but also for its interesting inland, where centuries-old cultural and historical wealth lie. This is the country of many world-famous scientists and artists, the country where the fountain pen and the parachute were invented.
However, Croatia is perhaps best known as a country of world-renowned and successful athletes and teams. From the unforgettable NBA magician Dražen Petrović, who left us too early, to Toni Kukoč, a member of the Chicago Bulls, perhaps the best basketball team of all time, the brilliant skier Janica Kostelić, the track and field athletes Blanka Vlašić and Sandra Perković, the tennis player Goran Ivanišević, and the Vatreni, the national football team, the 2018 World Cup silver medallists, led by the then best football player in the world, Luka Modrić.
However, you know that, in terms of sports, Croatia has been synonymous with excellence in water polo for decades! The story of Croatian success in this sport, the story of love and connection between Croats and water polo, began 114 years ago in this pearl of Dalmatia. Yes, the first official water polo match in Croatia was played here in Split in 1908.
Therefore, it is my great pleasure to greet you and welcome you under the warm Mediterranean sun, next to the clear Adriatic Sea, to the festival of competence, passion, and beauty of our beloved sport in a special city.
In the city of Split, the cradle of Croatian water polo!
Vice-President and Executive Director of the Croatian Water Polo Federation