Cup history
The Croatia Karate Club has been organizing the annual international karate tournament Croatia Cup for 19 years in a row. The fist Cup took place in 1992; in the years that followed it has grown, both by the number of participants and their quality.
The main part of the tournament includes individual cadet and senior competition by weight categories and team competition; there is also the youngest age group (7-16 years of age). Although we are happy about the great number of participants (720 participants from 9 countries in 2005) - quality is still our priority.
The Croatia Cup gained a new dimension in 1996, when the first Super Eight was held within it - it was an invitation tournament featuring eight top world athletes, who fought not only for prestige, but also for substantial prize money, unusual in this amateur sport.
The first years of this elite part of the Croatia Cup were marked by Christophe Pinna of France, who won the main prize two times in a row. Especially impressive was his final against Davide Benetello of  Italy in 1996, when the fight ended with the most attractive technique - a jump round kick. The following three years were dominated by Junior Lefevre, a Belgian with a Croatian passport, who became a member of the Croatia Karate Club in 1998. That period is remembered by his duels with the English karate legend Wayne Otto, who he managed to outperform with an excellent display of speed and explosive power.
The 2001 Super Eight was won by Predrag Stojadinov of Serbia (2000 absolute category World Champion from Munich). In 2002, Junior Lefevre won the tournament again, and in 2003, the title went to Afrim Latifi of Albania, who impressed the audience with attractive throws and leg techniques.
The greatest testimony to the quality of the tournament are a number of world-class athletes, who have competed at the Croatia Cup, but could not win it: Benetello and Loria (Italy), Cruz (Brazil), Idrizi (Croatia), Cole (Great Britain), Horn (Germany), Farmadin (Slovakia), Alagas (Turkey) and Hanibal (Tunisia).
To make the tournament even more interesting, and to give everybody, who wants to participate, an opportunity to do so, we changed the Super Eight into Super OPEN in 2004 and increased the prize money to over 10,000 Euros. The Super OPEN era has been marked by the most dominant karate athlete of today, Alexander Gerunov of Russia, who won the tournament five times in a row: in 2004, 2005,2006, 2007 and 2008. He jumped Lefevre, who held the record with four titles won. Petersen of the Netherlands (-70kg World Champion), Luhama of Estonia (2006 World Heavy Weight Champion), Potapov of Russia (2004 European team gold medallist), as well as the members of the national team of Bosnia and Hercegovina Kaluši, Mandari, upina and Hadi (2006 European team silver medallists from Stavanger) have also competed at the Croatia Cup in the past seven years.
The quality of the Croatia Cup was further enhanced in 2006, when the national team of Iran participated with 36 (!) athletes, led by the 2006 World Champion in the -75kg category from Tampere Jasem Modamivishgahijem.
With so much international interest, this tournament is a good opportunity for the best Croatian athletes to prove their quality. A growing number of them take this opportunity, so Mrzak, Duki, Vui, Jusufagi and Marti have won medals at the Super OPEN.
The quality of athletes who participate in the tournament has definitely changed the image of karate as a small and uninterested sport; the growing interest of the media, which devote significant space to the announcements and comments on the tournament, testifies to that fact. This is especially true of the Croatian Television, which has been either broadcasting the Cup live, or as 45-60 minute recordings for 16 years, as well as of the Jutarnji List and Vecernji List daily newspapers, and the 101 Radio and the Croatian Radio.
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