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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW of Mr.Dragan Jovic to European Taekwondo Union


The 18-year-old Tijana Bogdanovic won the Silver medal -49kg during the 1st Competition Day in Rio 2016 on 17th August. Yet Serbia has not already played all of her cards, since the London 2012 Gold medallist Milica Mandic will compete on Saturday (20 of August) defending her title.
The man behind the two Olympians and coach of the National Taekwondo Team of Serbia, Dragan Jovic talks to ETU.
ETU: This is your second presence in the Olympic Games  as a country and you strike two to two Olympic medals. What is the reason of this success?
Dragan: The success is behind all the people that have contributed to this result. My club and everyone in there, from coaches, to doctors and athletes. We work hard and organized. The professionalism of our coaches and doctors enhances the best possible physical preparation of all athletes, who are also supported from the sport psychologist. Indeed, we train big athletes, but what we strive for is to carefully select the best cadets, prepare them and preserving their level while juniors and lead them to an athletic peak as seniors as well. We are just like a factory of Champions. This is not easy. It needs time, a lot of work, passion and dedication.
ETU: How easy or difficult was for an 18-year-old girl to reach such a high competition level?
Dragan: Tijana is indeed very young, but she is amazing. She has won numerous titles as a cadet and a junior, she has been always participating in major European Tournaments, counting around 20 medals, which is unbelievable if you consider her age. She is a very good athlete and has been in the steps of Milica, since there is program for athletes to follow and work for their progress.
ETU: Which were the final tips you gave to Tijana before the final match?
Dragan: We prepare a tactic for every opponent. Tijana just had to follow the program she had been working on all this year along with the tactic for each lady she fought against. Our pool results were very hard. During the first match she had to compete with the Azerbaijani Abakarova – a very skillful athlete – who have met already three time in the past. Obviously she was stressed during the match. The second one was with the Chinese – favored for the gold.  I will not tell you what I said to her right before the final match, but generally she already knew what she had to do. She had been prepared for all of the fights. In the final – you saw what happened. I objected for the fall of the Korean being out of time and it was rejected. This was not a random match. It was the match for the Olympic Gold medal. But I am not the one responsible to do anything after this. The issue has moved to the National Olympic Committee, which will proceed to an objection to IOC.
ETU: We watched a thrilling final match. Would you change something in your strategy against the Korean opponent now that you know the result?
Dragan: No, I would not change anything. As I said, Tijana was following a tactic against every opponent she faced. I do not know what went wrong, because Tijana showed her quality throughout the game. She also had the greatest support from the spectators – basketball players, other Serbian athletes, everyone were inside the arena cheering and supporting Tijana – this is a big inspiration. Maybe the young of her age, did not permit her to act accordingly and turn the score, which was taken advantage by the Korean to preserve the difference.
ETU: The 2 out of the 3 Olympic Gold medals of Serbia are from Taekwondo. Do you see it becoming the National sport?
Dragan: Taekwondo is the National sport of Serbia. It is very popular throughout the country, everyone knows its rules and there are many enthusiasts, as well as young talents popping out. There are numerous taekwondo clubs and coaches around the country and what we hope for after this medal is to make better the conditions to practice taekwondo.
ETU: Along with our best wishes for Milica, which is the advice that you would give her before the competition?
Dragan: Milica is pressured for four years now, striving to continue in this level and preserve her title. She has participated in many tournaments during all these years, maybe not always giving the 100%, but she has not made it that far because she stood lucky and now she is smarter and more experienced than the Milica in London 2012. So I would just tell her to act normal like any other tournament. To enjoy it with her body and mind. She has nothing to prove. She worked hard for this and she got it.

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