We at Croatia like to think that we are a nation of great sportsmen and women. There is some merit in the belief considering the amount of top tier athletes from a country of only 4, 5 million people. As such, we like to massively celebrate successes of our athletes with open air homecoming parties in Zagreb.
There was just one problem with those parties. Well, not the parties that were being thrown, but the ones that were not. Celebrating the idea behind sports: the dedication needed to go beyond ones limitations, the hard work and sacrifice, the focus in, first and foremost, competing against yourself each time one steps on the field; we neglected the ones that did that every day by default, and then some – our Paralympic athletes.
With the Paralympics in Rio over, 19 athletes are coming home with five medals, and for the first time in 25 years, we are giving them the welcome every one of them, former and current, was due. On Wednesday, September 21st, a homecoming party will be thrown at the meadow in front of the National University Library (NSK, Hrvatske Bratske Zajednice street 4) for the returning Paralympic athletes.
On an editorial note from us here at Just Zagreb, it might be one of the best parties thrown for athletes so far. They are usually a drab affair, not in the energy and enthusiasm felt on the gatherings, but in the content, usually featuring bands way past their prime and with one step into evergreen territory that everyone can listen to, but no one is stoked about. It’s more of a background music for the main event. Not this time though. With Vatra and Detour, two quality bands at the peak of their creative energy, and DJs afterwards, it’s a free open air concert one would recommend for any occasion.
Croatian athletes won five medals at the Rio Paralympics. Gold medals were won by Mikela Ristoski at long jump and Sanda Paović at table tennis. ilver was won by Helena Dretar Karić and Anđela Mužinić at table tennis pairs and Zoran Talić at long jump. Bronze medal went to Velimir Šandor for discus throw. We’re proud of all our athletes from Rio POI, medal or no, and we can’t wait to finally show them that with this celebration of human spirit at its finest.
We hope that, no matter where you are from, you’ll come and celebrate that with us.
The homecoming concert starts at 17:30.