16 MAY 2014 General News Shanghai, China

Perkovic planning Diamond League domination again starting in Shanghai - IAAF Diamond League

Sandra Perkovic ahead of the 2014 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai (Errol Anderson)Sandra Perkovic ahead of the 2014 IAAF Diamond League meeting in Shanghai (Errol Anderson) © Copyright

Sandra Perkovic is planning to dominate this year’s IAAF Diamond League discus competitions again, starting with a Shanghai meeting record on Sunday (18).

The Croatian produced a perfect series in the 2013 IAAF Diamond League, winning all seven of her Diamond League outings and adding the Moscow 2013 world title last August to her London 2012 Olympic Games gold medal.

This season she has already improved her personal best and the Croatian national record when she threw 70.51m in Split on 1 March, the first throw beyond 70 metres for 15 years and the furthest since Cuba’s Maritza Martinez threw 70.68m in July 1992.

However, the restless 23-year-old is far from satisfied with her achievements so far.

Having lost just once in each of the 2012 and 2013 seasons, she aims to go unbeaten in 2014 and throw further than ever as she chases Diamond League points and her third successive European title.

“I’m so proud of what I did last year,” said Perkovic at a press conference on Friday (16) in the Chinese city.

“The 2013 season was the best in my career so far, but 2014 started with such a big result for me, I think this year will be even better.

“My aim for Sunday is to go beyond the Shanghai meeting record of 68.24 I threw two years ago before the London 2012 Olympics. That will be the start of my domination of this year.

“My target then is to win every Diamond League meeting and after that the European Championships in Zurich. I’m already two times the European champion so my goal is to win a third title, and then the Continental Cup in Marrakech.

“Also, the championship record is 71.48, so my goal is not just to win but to throw beyond 71.48 in Zurich this year.”

Perkovic’s one defeat last year was to Gia Lewis-Smallwood on home turf in Zagreb, and the US thrower is one of those hoping to halt her Croatian rival’s progress in Shanghai, along with Moscow 2013 silver medallist Mélina Robert-Michon, of France, and Australia’s in-form 2009 World champion Dani Samuels, who improved her best to 67.99m last weekend.

The field includes four other Moscow finalists in China’s Tan Jian, Lithuania’s Zinaida Sendriute, Cuban Yaimí Pérez and Argentina’s Rocío Comba.

“I think I will need to throw beyond 68 metres at every competition because the other girls are also throwing crazy distances,” added Perkovic.

“It will be harder than last year but I am very excited about the competition. I feel stronger than ever. My throw in March proves that. It was a mark I have been chasing for three years, but I think I can go further.

“I didn’t expect to throw so far in March. In training I hadn’t been over 67. I thought I might get a national record, but then I did that in the first round when I threw 69.96 and I was so frustrated because it was so close to 70.

“Then I threw 70 in the fourth round and I was so excited. Now I want to reach 70 metres at every competition, or at least go beyond 68, that would be okay.

“I will need to have four or five strong Diamond League performances behind me to be confident before I go to Zurich,” commented Perkovic.

Organisers for the IAAF