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4 August 2008, 08:38 am
Croatian 'Flotilla' Confident Of Success
Mateja PETRONIJVEC at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships
Mateja PETRONIJVEC is the first Croatia women sailor to compete at the Olympic Games

2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Qingdao, China

With 10 sailors competing in seven events, Croatia has more sailors in Qingdao than at any other Olympic Games and the Croatian Sailing Team represents one tenth of the Croatian Olympic Team.
In Sydney and Athens there were four Croatian sailors, competing in three events.

Not only does Croatia have competitors in the Laser, 470 Men, 49er, Star, Finn and RS:X Men, it has its first female sailor representing the country. Mateja PETRONIJEVIC (CRO) is competing in the Laser Radial, the women's one person dinghy event.

Ten sailors, seven coaches, one head coach, one team leader, two rules advisors, one doctor, one physiotherapist, one press officer and one representative of the executive office of the Croatian Olympic Federation comprise the Croatian contingent in Qingdao.

Zrinka GRANCARIC (CRO), the Croatian press officer, said: "In the past we were focused on the Laser, 470 Men and the Finn. With support from the Federation, we have been able to broaden our development programme. We were pretty sure that we were going to qualify for the Olympics in the Finn, Laser and 470 Men's events going into the World Championships in Cascais, Portugal in July 2007.

"We selected the team in those events in July 2007 and then by mutual decision, some of the sailors opted to try to qualify the country in other events. Some of the 470 Men sailors switched into the 49er and the RS:X and qualified the country in those events.

"This is a young team that shows great promise, not only for this Olympics, where we anticipate being in the medal races in the Finn, 470 Men, Star and Laser, but for 2012,"

Croatia is looking forward to its first Olympic medal in Sailing. The country's top prospect is Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC (CRO) in the Heavyweight Dinghy - Finn event, who is ranked # 4 in the World going into the Olympics.

Petar CUPAC (CRO) will be the first Croatian to compete in two different Olympics Sailing events. In Athens he sailed in the 470 Mens, in Qingdao he will compete in the 49er.
Olympic News Service (As Amended By ISAF)
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