After almost seven years and a lot of challenges and improvements in the spearfishing sport, Valentina Prokic is no longer Director of the CMAS Spearfishing Commission.

Valentina Prokic quits as Director of the CMAS Spearfishing Commission
CMAS Team for Semana Master – Kostas Makris, Giacomo De Mola, Oscar Lopez Martin and Valentina Prokic

In 2017, upon the proposal of the Croatian Federation for Sports Fishing at Sea, Valentina Prokic became a member of the CMAS Spearfishing Commission. Just a year later, in 2018, following the World Championship in Sagres, the CMAS Board decided to appoint Prokic as the Director of the Commission. Despite never having been an athlete herself, she had been traveling with the Croatian national team since 2001. Her intimate knowledge of the sport, familiarity with its workings, and her countless hours spent on boats, regardless of weather conditions, made her an invaluable asset.

Women in the spearfishing sport

Valentina Prokic in the first years in spearfishing
Second place on the Semana Master in Palma de Mallorca with her great friend Jose Antonio Olmedo, unfortunately passed away, and the World Champion Daniel Gospic (now member of the Apneapassion Team)

Even as Director, Prokic always chose to be out at sea during competitions. Over the span of six years, together with a dedicated team in the Commission, she managed to develop the Women’s competition, which grew significantly from the WC in Sagres in Portugal in 2018 (7 nations, 16 athletes) to the WC Laredo in Spain in 2023 (13 nations, 30 athletes). In 2018, the World Cup for Clubs was established, aiming to provide an opportunity for athletes who may not have the chance to compete for their national team or may not compete at all except in club competitions. Unfortunately, due to various circumstances, only two such cups have been held: one in Tunis in 2018 and this year in Brazil. However, there is significant interest in this particular competition.

Valentina Prokic quits as Director of the CMAS Spearfishing Commission
Always at sea – With Valentina are Jose Antonio Olmedo, Patxi Diaz, Jaime Frau, Pere Noguera and Juan Vargas

Freshwater championships

This year also saw the inaugural World Cup for Masters, for athletes aged 50 and above, held during Semana Master. This category, a norm in all other CMAS sports, was finally introduced in spearfishing, and there are hopes for its growth in the coming years.

In 2020, the first European Freshwater Championship took place, organized excellently by the Finnish Divers Federation. However, spearfishing in freshwater remains a challenge in most European countries due to legal restrictions. While popular in the USA and New Zealand, where invasive species in lakes necessitate control, the USA Freshwater World Championship has yet to become part of the CMAS calendar.

Greek spearfishing athletes - Giannis Sideris, Valentina Prokic and Nikos Kambanis
Greek spearfishing athletes – Giannis Sideris, Valentina Prokic and Nikos Kambanis
Friend, teacher and family - Tomeu Salas, ex capitain of Spain
Friend, teacher and family – Tomeu Salas, ex capitain of Spain

Throughout the years, the Commission has worked tirelessly to adapt rules for athletes, implement safety measures, and ensure all necessary details are covered by organizers when applying for CMAS championships.

Through fish donations from competitions and adherence to fish size regulations in each country, CMAS and its Spearfishing Commission collectively strive to showcase spearfishing as the most selective form of fishing. Competitions provide an opportunity for those in need and socially disadvantaged individuals to enjoy meals prepared from fresh fish, which they may not typically have access to.

Capitains of the spearfishing teams – Marco Bardi from Italy, Valentina Prokic and Rui Torres, ex capitain of Portugal
Valentina Prokic with the Spanish Team at the last Euroafricans in Türkiye
Valentina Prokic with the Spanish Team at the 2024 Euro-African Championship in Türkiye

Goodbye from Valentina

“I am very happy to have had the opportunity to lead the Spearfishing Commission. In the beginning, it was strange to be chosen for this honorable job as I wasn’t an athlete, but having been a part of the spearfishing world for many years before becoming director, I had no problem adapting to my new role. One thing that has never changed, and never will, is my commitment to the world of the athletes. They have always been my priority and will continue to be so forever. I am very proud that many of them are my friends, and that will not change. If they ever need my help, they will have it, whether I am director or not.

The only moment that broke my heart and still does to this day is the terrible accident involving Matthias Sandeck at the Euro-African Championship in 2019 in Denmark. He will always be in my heart, and we must ensure that something like this never happens again. I stepped down from my role because it no longer feels the same as it did at the beginning, but my work will continue as a member of the Commission. I am confident that Sergi Perez, the new director, is a professional who will be able to continue my work effectively as he has been for many years the secretary and a big part of the Spearfishing Commission”, is the message by Valentina Prokic today.