Amazing Ivan Šapina wins European taekwondo gold for Croatia!


May 21, 2022 – Ivan Šapina from Marjan Split is the new European taekwondo champion in the category up to 87 kilograms, while Nika Klepac returns to Zagreb with silver!

The Croatian taekwondo team thus won its fourth and fifth medals at the Senior European Championships in Manchester after only two days of competition, reports HRT.

Šapina, a 2020 Tokyo Olympian and Zagreb native who competes for Marjan Split, continued to medal at major competitions after winning bronze at the 2019 World Championships and 2021 European Championships, adding the third medal in a row – his first senior gold medal in major competitions. Šapina celebrated all three fights until the final with over 20 points.

In the round of 16, he beat Cypriot Andreas Theocharous 26:0. In the quarter-finals he was better than Ukrainian Vladyslav Bondar by 24:4, while in the semi-finals he beat Slovenian Patrik Divković by another 24:4.

The final was dramatic although it was nothing for Šapina, who has encountered several tough fights in recent years. After 11-11, the final against Spaniard Raul Martinez Garcia went to an extra round for a golden point. However, there were no points even after the extra round, so the winner was decided by several attempts by Šapina in the extra round.

Šapina is already Marjan Split’s eighth senior European champion after Ana and Lucija Zaninović, Toni Kanaet, Lovro Brečić, Matea Jelić, Bruno Vuletić and Lena Stojković, which speaks volumes about the systematic work that has gone on in Split after the departure of the Zaninović sisters. .

The silver medal was won by Nika Klepac, a member of Medvedgrad Zagreb, who prevailed in the 73 kg category against the excellent Dutchman Reshmia Oogink with a golden point 4:0 then beat the German Alema Hadžić 4:2 in the medal fight. Nika beat Paule Marie Blé in the semi-finals with an incredible 15-8 fight and qualified for the European Championship final against another still too strong Frenchwoman. Laurin won gold in France (16:0).

Nika Petanjek was close to the medal, which started in the round of 16 with a 9:6 win over Spain’s Tania Castineira. In the quarter-finals, Nika started well, leading 4:0 and holding the advantage until the last seconds when the experienced Polish Aleksandra Kowalczuk turned the fight around and made it to the semi-finals, winning 5:6.

With gold at the President’s Cup in Albania, Ivan Šapina secured Croatia additional places in the category up to 87 kilograms, which was completed by club colleague Josip Bilić Pavlinović. In the first round, Pavlinović won against Romanian Snacov 23:5, and in the next round he lost to the third seed, German Bachmann, 9:29.

In the category up to 58 kilograms, Fran Šerer from Ion Zagreb competed in the round of 16 and was stopped by Spaniard Adrian Vicente Yunta (34:14).

The championship ends on Sunday.

To find out more about sport in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN page.

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