Olympic Diary: Sime and Mihovil Fantela
Published on July 31st, 2020
The Croatian brothers Sime and Mihovil Fantela, who joined forces in the 49er and won the 2018 Worlds, are aiming for more success together at Tokyo 2020+1
Tell us about your memories of Rio 2016.
Šime: I won a gold medal in the 470 class with Igor Mareni. It was a special time for me, a special Olympic Games. It was the third Games for both of us, and we won a gold medal after two attempts. It was a beautiful event for us, but the conditions over there were pretty tough and challenging. We sailed on the ocean and inside the harbour, so we really needed to spend a lot of time there, which we did.
It was a great fight between us and teams like Mat Belcher & Will Ryan from Australia and Panagiotis Mantis & Pavlos Kagialis from Greece, who won silver and bronze [respectively]. Going into the Medal Race, we had a nice buffer between us and them, so all we had to do is just try to stay close to them and not put many boats in between. What happened was that both of them fought for the silver, so we just stayed close and secured our medal.
Crossing the finish line in Guanabara Bay was a special moment which I will never forget. It’s true what they say – it’s an amazing feeling when you win a medal at the Olympic Games. It means a lot to me, especially to represent Croatia in such a big event. It’s a big honour and I’m really proud of that; of me, Igor and the whole team who were behind us during the whole campaign.
We received a great welcome when we came home in Zadar; there were people everywhere and we all celebrated for a few days because it was the first gold medal for Croatian sailing ever.
What has lockdown been like for you? How did you train and keep fit onshore while you weren’t allowed to sail?
Mihovil: After coming from Spain [after the cancelled Trofeo Princesa Sofia], we had to go into self-quarantine for two weeks. It was a bit strange to stay at home for two weeks, but it was not so bad – I bought a rowing machine and some weights, and did some training at home. After one month we were allowed to go on the water, and that’s it, so it was not so bad.
With Tokyo 2020 being rescheduled to 2021, what are your plans for the next 12 months, and how will you prepare and train for another year of Olympic campaigning?
Šime: Our plan for this year is quite uncertain because of this situation that we all face. What we have scheduled now is only Kiel Week in early September, and then we hope we will have the European Championship as well sometime this year. We would love to go to Japan if the situation gets better, and then for the next year who knows. I just hope that we will have the full programme with Palma, Hyères, maybe Miami at the beginning of the year. I think it’s going to be nice next year, much better than this one, and we’ll be ready for the Olympic Games in 2021.
Tokyo Olympic Sailing Program
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn
Men’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Women’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
Original dates: July 24 to August 9, 2020
Revised dates: July 23 to August 8, 2021