Sandra Perkovic successfully defends her European crown in Helsinki (Getty Images) © Copyright
In the first group, Russia’s Darya Pishchalnikova, who leads the world’s list this season with a mighty 70.69 (5 July), the longest throw in the world for 20 years, made it clear today that she is certainly remains in good form. Her 65.02 in round one humbled the 63.00 automatic qualification line.
However, while she was the only one to hit form in that first series of throws, in the second round there was a volley of three consecutive qualifying efforts respectively from Cuba’s Yarelys Barrios (65.94), India’s Krishna Poonia (63.54) and China’s Yanfeng Li (64.48) which indicates that the tomorrow night’s final is by no means going to be a one woman show.
Barrios was the Olympic silver medallist in Beijing, and took World bronze in Daegu, while Yanfeng Li is the reigning World champion and Asian Games gold medallist, and both quite rightly are also among the event favourites.
However, while Poonia, 35, is the Commonwealth Games champion, she was the only minor surprise of the round as she has previously never reached a World or Olympic final.
Throwing eighth in the order, 2009 World champion Dani Samuels of Australia produced her season’s best at exactly the right moment powering out an automatic qualifier of 63.97 with her third and final effort.
Group B was also a straightforward affair with the stark exception that the reigning Olympic champion Stephanie Brown-Trafton struggled in her first two rounds with a best of only 61.09 which left her short of qualification until with a mighty final effort she drew out a 64.89 automatic qualification.
Also automatically progressing from the group were Germany’s Nadine Muller (65.89) and Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic (65.74), respectively the second and third ranked athletes in the world list this year. It must be remembered that the Croatian has won all three duels with the German this season including the continental title in Helsinki.
8 throwers over 63m was a respectable overall performance and they will be joined in the 12-woman final by Germany’s Anna Ruh (62.98), Zinaida Sendriute of Lithuania (62.72), China’s Xuejun Ma (62.99) and France’s melina Robert-Michon (62.47).
Chris Turner for the IAAF
2003 ATC Debrecen