Croatia has about 500 pigeon fanciers. Not all of them are racing their birds but they are all members of the 34 clubs that are scattered throughout the country. We can define three levels in the Croatian competition:
- racing in a zone (a few clubs together)
- regional (2 or more zones together)
- and the national racing scene
There are 5 different regions in Croatia.
Nikolaas Gyselbrecht visited the lofts of Petar Radolović
The quality of the competition is not on the highest level, also because of the quantity. But there are exceptions, as a few top fanciers prove every season. They race with cocks and hens but only a few fanciers races only with the cocks.
The distances of the races vary from 100 to 800 km. Most of the pigeon fanciers in Croatia are located in the area around Zagreb and in the Slavonian region with the towns Osijek and Vinkovci. Also in the region west Slavonia around the towns of Lipik and Pakrac and in the center of Dalmatia is the town Sinj where more fanciers live.
For the National Championship you need to race all races: short, middle and long distance. You need to have 5 pigeons with results that meet the rules as with the FCI (Olympiad).
You can be a champion in one of the categories but for the General Championship you need to race all distances.
In Croatia we have marathon races too, but this distance is not included in the General Championship.
For Petar and Goran, the biggest challenge is to have a pigeon in the Olympic team of Croatia for the Olympiad and the European exhibition every year. We also try to have top results on regional and national races.
The Croatian Olympiad pigeons
We end with the question about which strains are the most popular ones in Croatia. There are the old lines of some older fanciers which are based on Willequet and Delbar, (from mister Ratkajec), Staf van Reet and Karel Schellens. During the past years there are more and more pigeons of the races of Heremans-Ceusters, Eijerkamp and Janssen/Van Loon.
We hope to show pigeon sport more to the public, especially to people that don’t know nothing about it (yet). We hope to have some projects with schools and to build small lofts so we can show the pigeon sport to young children. We only have a few new young pigeon fanciers every year and most of our fanciers are already older ones. That’s why we think we need to do something in the future.