12th European Short Course Championships, Swimming pool Kantrida, Rijeka
KANTRIDA SWIMMING POOL, Rijeka
After his European short course victory in the 4mm individual medley (4:03.01sec) Austrian Dinko Jukic remained as the poolside to cheer his sister Mirna on, who was on the starting block in the 200m breast-stroke just seven minutes later. The 2008 Olympic 100m breast bronze medallist (fourth in the 200m) clocked 2:20.48min beaten only by Russia’s Alena Alekseeva (2:19.93min) thus retaining her silver medal of Debrecen last year. For the first time their mother’s parents Fazekas saw their grandchildren compete on site. Mirna and Dinko Jukic both speak fluent Croatian and enjoy a European Championship alomost at home.
The sister and brother, coached by their father Zeljko in Vienna, enjoy a special status not just in Austria but also in Croatia. Both were born in Croatia - then still part of the former Yugoslavia - Mirna in Vukovar in 1986, Dinko in Dubrovnik in 1989. Mirna and her father went to Austria at the end of 1998; Dinko and his mother Mirela followed them one year later.
Both often come to Rijeka for training sessions. “Croatia is a country crazy about sports, and we like it very much here”, says Dinko Jukic whose expressed goal is the gold medal in the 400m individual medley at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Father Zeljko Jukic had predicted his son’s European title in Rijeka. After training on November 11, he had given Dinko a piece of paper on which he had written “European gold 400m individual medley”. Now father Zeljko even believes him capable of victory at the World Long Course Championships next year in Rome (July 18-August 2) – in the 200m butterfly which are, as the 400m IM, dominated by US superstar Michael Phelps.
Swiss Patrizia Humplik, the 200m breast-stroke bronze medallist in 2:21.68min, also has Croatian roots. She was born in Sisak to the south-east of Zagreb. At the age of six months, her parents moved to Switzerland where she competes for SK Berne.
Read MoreAdded: 22.10.2008 19:19
Last Modified: 15.12.2008 01:01