Instead of the postponed Olympics, this summer, full attention was on Osijek’s very own extreme sports festival. Broadcasted and streamed live on Sportska Televizija, YouTube and social networks, the 21st edition of Pannonian Challenge proved it a valiant shapeshifter ready to take on any circumstance and accept the extreme as the new normal. Anti-epidemic measures were top priority: protective masks and disinfectants, temperature taking, and registration of all participants were de rigueur. The signature family atmosphere and adrenaline-fueled friendly rivalry permeated the entirety of the festival, as did the energy and the gratitude of riders for being given the opportunity to compete – a rarity these days.
The loyal Pannonian crowd diligently moved their spectator skills in front of their screens via which their homes filled with the heat and excitement of the tricks and the thrills. The inline competition once again galvanized the festival, the skate category defied the laws of gravity, and the BMX contest once again proved that Pannonian Challenge rightfully stands side-by-side with top European competitions. This year, these pillar disciplines were joined by scooter. At its Pannonian premiere, scooter riders managed to demonstrate the full potential of this sport on the rise and find its footing in Osijek’s famed skatepark. Given the novelty of the sport, it was no wonder that half of the riders were underage. The eldest among them, 14-year old Emanuel Bastaja from Lovran, Croatia, took home the win as well as “best trick” title with his barspin transfer. Ranking second and third were two Zagreb garçons, Bruno Sladović and Mihael Ivanković, respectively.
– It all turned out great in the end! All of the riders who were supposed to show up did, which made the competition even more fun. I won first place because I have been riding for the longest, but more and more people are starting to experiment with scooters. Modern skate parks such as Osijek’s are pulling more and more people in. I expect there will be more riders next year. Fingers crossed there will also be a live audience!, said Bastaja, not hiding his enthusiasm.
Bastaja was born in 1999, the same year Pannonian took shape and started weaving its tale. This only underscores the growth and tradition of this festival that the Pannonian crew has been and will continue to build for as long as it can.