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Two sisters below the olympic rings – Ana and Lucija Zaninović, rulers of the world’s tatamis

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Remarkable sportswomen for a top destination

The two sisters, Hvarian by birth, world and European champions in tae kwon-do, will perform at the Olympic Games in London 2012. Except sports, they will also defend brand of Hvar as a hot spots destination.

By monitoring global tourism trends, editorial department of the Croatian tourist magazine “Dalmatian hot spots” decided to choose Hvar for a 2011 hot spots destination and for a cover of the winter edition.

Top athletes, world and European champions in tae kwon do, sisters Ana and Lucija Zaninović, along with numerous trips and obligations were able to dedicate one day to our magazine, to be photographed for the cover.

– Year of sports success is behind you, medals were won – have you achieved your goals?
Ana and: Yes, we are satisfied … very pleased. This is for us a year of great success, a dream come true.
Lucija: Since we started playing we dreamed that we will qualify for the Olympics. And these Olympics at which we both participate is the crown of many years of work.

– Now you have suddenly found yourselves in the role of promoter of sports life, but your personal life generated media attention as well – how do you deal with that? Is it hard to be a role model for young people?
Lucija: So far we encountered only sympathies – both from the media and fans. We want to show young people, through our own example, how perseverance and positive thinking can attain great results.

– You are also promoters of our country, and now also of tourism on Hvar, since you come from Velo Grablje?
Ana: We speak of our country only in superlatives … We traveled all over the world and nothing can compare to the beauty of our coast.

– You often travel around the world – are there any queries about the beauty of Hvar and the Croatian coast?
Lucija: In foreign countries, especially in the East, people have heard for Croatia over athletes and sports successes. In gatherings after the event we often show pictures of our coast. Split is a candidate of the organization of World Championships in Tae-kwon-do for 2013. We have already heard stories that we are favorites, along with Mexico, Turkey and Azerbaijan, which would be a great success, because Croatia has never hosted such a big competition.

– In addition to sports obligations you are both studying – you are students of Aspira how do you fulfill all tasks, those of sports and those of students?
Lucija: We execute our athlete obligations as best we can, through continuous and recurrent training and participation in all major competitions. Aswell as those of a student… Specifically, Aspira – The College of Sports Management has a lot of understanding for top athletes. With good organization everything can be done.

– One cannot live on sports, except when it comes to football. Acquiring knowledge is essential – where do you see yourself after removing the kimonos?
Ana: Tae kwon-do is a poorly paid sport. But even after the end of our career and with a degree in hand, we can see ourselves in club activities, or in some state sports structures.

– But now all your thoughts are directed to London 2012 and the Olympic Games. You are expecting a lot – how are the preparations going?
Lucija: As the event approaches, nervousness will be growing: therefore we plan to prepare ourselves abroad, in order to be exempt from public pressure and 100% focused on training and achieving results. Our only wish is to preserve health, to annul injuries. So everything is possible in London.

– Are you going to attend any other competition prior to Olympic Games?
Ana: We intend to participate in a stronger tournaments in Europe, first in Belgium and then in Germany, as well as in the Student Championships in Korea. However, everything still depends on our health and physical readiness!

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