Water Polo Australia appoints Croatian Olympic gold medal coach
Water Polo Australia (WPA) has taken a giant stride towards success at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games by announcing the appointment of Croatian Elvis Fatovic as the new head coach of its national men’s team, the Aussie Sharks.
Fatovic, who competed in two Olympic Games’ as a player, including Sydney 2000, was an integral member of the coaching staff of the gold medal winning Croatian team in London last year.
The appointment presents Fatovic with the opportunity to lead the Australian team to their first ever medal at an Olympic Games at Rio 2016 with a good mix of unheralded youngsters and a core of experienced players that have participated in the Beijing and London Olympics.
The Croatian replaces John Fox, who spent five years at the helm of the Aussie Sharks.
Fatovic said he was excited to be part of this changing time for water polo in Australia and to be charged with leading the team towards this year’s FINA World Championships in Barcelona and on to Rio in 2016.
“Water Polo Australia have prioritised quality coaching to lead their programs and I’m glad they have chosen me for the challenge ahead,” Fatovic said.
“There is much potential here in Australia and I am looking forward to helping my new team and country achieve the goals they have set.”
The 41-year-old was part of veteran coach Ratko Rudic’s set-up for the entire Olympic cycle leading into 2012 and came highly recommended by the man considered by many to be the greatest coach in water polo history.
“Ratko’s record is unparalleled in recent decades, having coached teams to win four Olympic gold medals, and I have learnt a lot from him in the time I worked under his structure,” Fatovic said.
“I hope to bring many of the practices and structures that have been successful in the past and combine them with the skills and determination of the Australians.”
WPA CEO Chris Harrison said the Australian sporting public should be excited by the appointment at what is a pivotal time for the sport.
“Elvis’ appointment brings with it great opportunity for both parties and we hope he can help us make the step to become a consistent challenger for international medals for years to come,” Harrison said.
“It is also a very interesting time for water polo in Australia with Water Polo Australia delivering our performance case to the Australian Sports Commission this week in response to the Winning Edge announcement in November.
“We have made quality coaching a huge priority for us throughout our national structure and Elvis is a part of that direction.”
Fatovic is in Sydney for four days before returning to Croatia to pack for the move back to Australia. He will take up his new position fulltime in late February.