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Tijan Zeljko: “The crossbow sport is not only a competition but an opportunity to present the culture and ethnography, historical and geographical beauties of the country”.


The new reality dictates new challenges for us. Therefore, for the first time in the history of IAU, an online crossbow shooting tournament was held. 64 athletes from Russia, the Czech Republic and Croatia took part in the tournament. The competitions were held in 6 categories. Read about the features of the IAU’s first online tournament in an exclusive interview with Tijan Zeljko.

- The new reality dictates new challenges for us. Please, tell us how the idea of holding an online tournament came about.

- The idea to organize the 15th Europe Cup in Slavonski Brod as an online tournament came because it would be sad to interrupt the tradition of organizing such a lovely international competition due to a virus. I had given some thought about it and since we are not a contact sport I saw the possibility of making the competition available to almost everyone, despite the whole situation. As I have been practicing this beautiful sport for so many years and I know most of the athletes, I was completely sure that all of them will compete in the spirit of fair-play and send their actual result. When I proposed this idea to the IAU president Mr. Pero Stojnic, he supported it.

- Was it difficult to organize an online crossbow shooting tournament?

- The organization was relatively easy. I wasn’t alone in this, so some people helped me with a few ideas regarding the applications for the competition and the score sheet for entering the results.

- What were the basic rules for this tournament?

- The basic idea was to conduct the competition according to the current IAU rules for indoor Field competitions, meaning targets for 18m, time period of two minutes for each shooting end, etc.

- How many athletes and countries took part in the online competition? And how many participants did the organizers expect?

- Up until now, ten nations participated in Europe Cup competitions. For this competition, there were three nations applied. The total number of competitors from the Czech Republic, Russia and Croatia was 64 in six categories. I have to say that it pleases me to see that the numbers of the applied athletes were the highest in younger categories, juniors and cadets.

- Undoubtedly, it was a very interesting experience for both athletes and organizers, because the online competition was held for the first time in the history of IAU. What is your prediction, will the online tournaments become more often?

- Personally, I wish this was the first and the last online competition. That would of course mean that the virus is no longer among us and that soon we will get back to our normal lives, making it possible to organize competitions in the standard format. The crossbow sport is not only a competition, but an opportunity for the organizer to present his culture, ethnography, and historical and geographical beauties of his country. Through these competitions I have visited lots of countries and made so many life-long friendships.

- Now the whole world is forced to go online… Can the online tournaments become an alternative to the regular competitions, or is it just a way not to lose practice for the athletes?

- Nothing can replace the competitions as they are in normal circumstances. Online competitions can only serve to keep the form in shape and continue with the training process. As part of the training process, online competitions may also serve as some kind of a test of the preparedness of an athlete.

- What would you like to wish all the IAU athletes and coaches?

- Dear crossbow shooters and coaches, Keep on practicing the most beautiful sport in the world, where money has not yet spoiled people. Through crossbow shooting I have made life-long friendships which I wouldn't change for anything. I have travelled 56 countries and met cultures, religions and customs of each of them. From every country I have brought a pebble as a memory which reminds me of all the beautiful people I have met and all the good things which happened to me. Even after 50 years of practicing crossbow shooting I can't get enough of it. Sport brings people closer, teaches us life skills like persistence, self-belief and honor and gives us a chance to make life-long friendships. If I had a chance to do it all over again, I would definitely practice crossbow shooting. Hereby, I wish all the best to my crossbow friends around the world.