Lena Stojkovic and Barbara Matic - Croatia's best female athletes. DAMIR KRAJAČ/CROPIX

To mark the 30th anniversary, the Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO) organised the final annual ceremony - the Great Day of Croatian Sport - with awards for the most successful athletes, sportsmen and sportswomen and coaches of the past year.

HOO's Female Athlete of the Year 2023 had two winners: World champion in taekwondo (46 kg) Lena Stojkovic and world bronze medallist and European bronze in judo (70 kg) Barbara Matić. 

Stojkovic had an excellent year, winning two major tournaments - the World Taekwondo Championships in Baku and the European Games in Maloposlka. She is now a back-to-back World champion and back-to-back European champion, and one of the main contenders for the gold medal in Paris 2024.

Lena Stojkovic (left) and Barbara Matic (centre) at the award ceremony. HOO
Lena Stojkovic (left) and Barbara Matic (centre) at the award ceremony. HOO

Matic came to Doha as the back-to-back World Judo champion, but lost her semi-final bout to eventual champion Saki Nizoe. Her 2023 was not as perfect as 2022, but she did manage to win bronze medals at both the World and European Championships. 

She also achieved two silvers and a bronze at the IJF Grand Slam tournaments. Matic was the best Croatian female athlete in 2022 and received the same recognition in 2023.