7 June 2024


Velika Gorica Get Together Tournament 2024


There were many tales to regale in Velika Gorica, the EJU Get Together was a resounding success. Now usually, victory comes in the colour gold in sport, standing on top of the podium typically tells the story of the overall champion, but in some instances, that isn’t the case. 

Sport is often selfish, one will train to be the best and become champion, however for a young man called Tibor, he recognised that winning wouldn’t be winning at all against his opponent. Tibor’s coach, Matija FRLIĆ, is not only the Croatian National Cadet Coach, but he is coach of both clubs Profectus and Judo Club Ishi, based in Samobor. 

Frlić shared an incredible story. The 14 year old who attends regular school with a teaching assistant due to autism, has been practicing judo for three years, but also loves acting and will star in his first play on stage soon. 

Today our team with difficulties participated in the competition of Velika Gorica which gathered 150 fighters from 12 European countries, we won 14 medals and during the competition achieved some great sports and life victories. But my hero of the day/month/year is my Tibor. 

In his last fight, he fought with a boy who started crying after entering the tatami. He cried for three minutes and with the comfort of his coach and his club, he still decided to fight! Tibor lost the fight in 2 seconds, and it was clear that he didn’t even try to win at all. He left the mat and I left him to rest for ten minutes and then we sat down to talk. I didn’t get to say a single word and Tibor started explaining, 

The boy cried, and then I decided to let him beat me.” 

When Frlić asked why he had done that, he answered,

When I saw him crying, I realised that this victory would mean much more to him than to me. I decided to lose because I knew that then I would be happier than I would have been if I had defeated him.

I was speechless for a few seconds, we hugged tightly and agreed that this ‘defeat’ was actually one of his biggest victories in his life and mine. Thank you, little one, for reminding us all of what its important. 

So the story goes, there can be victory in defeat. 

Frlić finally went on to explain, 

On Monday, after the competition in Velika Gorica, his story came out to the public. Although he can often be the target of teasing by his peers, that day he was welcomed at school as a superhero. The whole school talked about his sporting move, they read posts from social networks and  congratulated their friend who showed everyone how to be a great man.

Author: Thea Cowen