Zoran Kovačević – journalist, editor, author of numerous books and publications, and sports official has been honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Croatian Sports Journalists Association (HZSN).
Kovačević received the accolade at the traditional annual award ceremony of the HZSN in Zagreb’s Novinarski dom (Journalists Home) on April 12, the same day he published his first article in Sportske novosti 50 years ago.
He has been involved in sports all his life, professionally and voluntarily as a journalist and editor, author of books and publications, as one of the closest associates of the Secretary General of the Zagreb Sports Federation and the Secretary General of the Croatian Olympic Committee, and as a member of executive bodies of wrestling, basketball and skating federations and clubs. He reported on the biggest basketball competitions, ranking among the best reporters and commentators of Croatian sports.
HINA photojournalist Damir Senčar won the award for photography. During the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Senčar managed to capture all Croatian competitors, and all photos exuded the current moment, sports effort, mood of the actors, a strange atmosphere due to the performance in front of empty stands, but also with delight while some of them received medals.
“A total of forty days in Japan, spent in pandemic conditions, with lost weight, will remain in good memory as one of the biggest challenges in my professional career,” said one of the best Croatian photojournalists.
Croatian Television commentator Stjepan Balog received an award for a television project, a show about the European Football Championship “Europeo”, while Ivan Ljubić from the Croatian Football Television won the award for a TV report.
Branko Stipković received an award for the story on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the small Football Club Pribić and the greatest man of the region, Cardinal Franjo Kuharić. Anton Filić from Večernji list received an award for feuilleton, and Nenad Kosović from Marko Polo Sport portal received an award for local reporting on sporting events.
The spokesman of the Osijek Football Club, Mario MIhić, won the press service award, while the book 50 Years of the Matchbox, edited by Anton Samovojska and Robert Šola from Sportske novosti and Zvonimir Vukelić from Večernji list, received the award for journalism.
HZSN gave a special recognition to Croatian Ambassador to Japan Dražen Hrastić, who helped Croatian journalists during the Tokyo Olympics, despite strict Japanese government rules, multiple accommodation cancellations and rigorous epidemiological measures. In direct contact with the highest bodies of the local government, Ambassador Hrastić sought answers for the best possible scenario for reporters from his homeland in the most demanding Games in history so far, the explanation states.
The ceremony was attended by the President and Secretary General of the Croatian Olympic Committee Zlatko Mateša and Siniša Krajač, State Secretary at the Ministry of Sport and Tourism Tomislav Družak, Director of the Media and Development of Cultural and Creative Industries at the Ministry of Culture and Media Jasna Fila Vaniček, President of the Zagreb Sports Federation Vjekoslav Šafranić, President of the European Baseball Federation Krunoslav Karin and many other dignitaries from sports and public life.
Prior to the awards ceremony, the HZSN Assembly was held, where President Jura Ozmec emphasized that HZSN had a number of activities in the past year while also recalling the many limitations faced by sports journalism in the pandemic era, including travel restrictions and restrictions within competitions.
“What is beautiful is that Croatian sports journalists did not stop working during the pandemic, on the contrary, they created and created, as evidenced by the number of books and publications published in the past year,” Ozmec said.