Sandra Perkovic

Athlete Profile

    Croatia Croatia
    21 JUN 1990
Sandra Perkovic in the discus at the IAAF World Championships, Beijing 2015 (Getty Images)

Personal Best - Outdoor

Performance Wind Place Date
Shot Put 16.40 Split 26 FEB 2011
Discus Throw 71.41 Bellinzona 18 JUL 2017

Personal Best - Indoor

Performance Wind Place Date
Shot Put 16.99 Rijeka 19 FEB 2011

Progression - Outdoor

Shot Put

Performance Place Date
2011 16.40 Split 26 FEB
2010 16.02 Split 06 MAR
2009 15.46 Osijek 07 JUN
2008 15.46 Zagreb 21 MAY
2007 14.47 Zagreb 20 JUN

Discus Throw

Performance Place Date
2017 71.41 Bellinzona 18 JUL
2016 70.88 Shanghai (SS) 14 MAY
2015 70.08 Split (Park Mladeži) 08 MAR
2014 71.08 Zürich (Letzigrund) 16 AUG
2013 68.96 Lausanne (Pontaise) 04 JUL
2012 69.11 London (Olympic Stadium) 04 AUG
2011 67.96 Split 26 FEB
2010 66.93 Bruxelles (Boudewijnstadion) 27 AUG
2009 62.79 Split 04 SEP
2008 55.89 Rijeka 03 JUN
2007 55.42 Hengelo (Blankers-Koen Stadion) 22 JUL
2006 50.11 Zagreb 08 JUL

Progression - Indoor

Shot Put

Performance Place Date
2011 16.99 Rijeka 19 FEB
2010 16.23 Zagreb 27 FEB

Honours - Shot Put

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
12th IAAF World Junior Championships 7q1 15.03 Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak) 09 JUL 2008
5th IAAF World Youth Championships 6q1 13.19 Ostrava 13 JUL 2007

Honours - Discus Throw

Rank Mark Wind Place Date
IAAF World Championships London 2017 1 70.31 London (Olympic Stadium) 13 AUG 2017
The XXXI Olympic Games 1 69.21 Rio de Janeiro (Estádio Olímpico) 16 AUG 2016
15th IAAF World Championships 2 67.39 Beijing (National Stadium) 25 AUG 2015
2nd IAAF Continental Cup 2014 3 62.08 Marrakech (Le Grande Stade) 13 SEP 2014
14th IAAF World Championships 1 67.99 Moskva (Luzhniki) 11 AUG 2013
The XXX Olympic Games 1 69.11 London (Olympic Stadium) 04 AUG 2012
1st IAAF/VTB Bank Continental Cup 2010 2 63.29 Split (Poljud Stadion) 04 SEP 2010
IAAF/VTB Bank World Athletics Final 8 54.87 Thessaloníki 13 SEP 2009
12th IAAF World Championships in Athletics 9 60.77 Berlin (Olympiastadion) 21 AUG 2009
12th IAAF World Junior Championships 3 54.24 Bydgoszcz (Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak) 13 JUL 2008
5th IAAF World Youth Championships 2 51.25 Ostrava 11 JUL 2007
11th IAAF World Junior Championships 10q1 44.11 Beijing (Chaoyang Sport Center) 18 AUG 2006

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Updated September 5, 2014

Sandra PERKOVIC, Croatia (Discus Throw, Shot Put)

Born  21 June 1990

183 cm/ 85 kg

Coach: Edis Elkasevic

Sandra Perkovic is today the absolute ruler in the discus throw. She is the only female discus thrower during the last two decades who threw over 70 meters, and won gold medals at five consecutive major competitions in which she participated.

But, not so long ago, Sandra Perkovic was on the brink of life and death. It was Christmas 2008.

"It all started with abdominal pain. In the hospital I was wrongly diagnosed with intestinal viruses, but in fact it was appendicitis. I came to the hospital when I had already colapsed,  with temperatures of 41-42 degrees, and I had 18,000 white blood cells.  If it had not been for Doctor Lackovic, they would have sent me home. After his diagnosis, they sent me to surgery, but the operation was performed by another doctor and was not successful.

Six days later, my stomach was worse, and they told me that this is normal. Doctor Lackovic was again a savior when he said that it is sepsis and again I had surgery. The first operation was performed on 25 December 2008. and the other on 6 January 2009. You see that dates? The Good obviously had  some plans with me. Doctors  told my mother, Vesna, that 90 percent of people do not survive the operation and to go home and let them pray to survive. They told me later that I have endured thanks to a strong body, otherwise I would not have survived. Nobody believed that I would return to training this year ", says Sandra Perkovic.

Not only is she back, but after that everything in her career began to take place at the speed of a film. Already in July the same year, at the European Junior Championships in Novi Sad, she won the gold medal in the discus throw. She threw 62.44 - more than seven meters meters further than her nearest rival, which is the largest difference to the best placed runner-up in the history of the discus at the European Championships.

Because the mark was over the qualifying standard for the World Championships, in Berlin, she went there to gain experience. However, she eventually reached the finals placing ninth with 60.77. Although this was a great success  for 19-year-old athletes, Sandra was crying in the Mixed Zone.

"I know that I can do much better and that is why I'm crying. If I threw the best and I was tenth, everything would be OK," she said then.

Everybody though that was funny, because Sandra was competing in a discipline in which the best results are achieved at 28 or 30 years of age, and the oldest participant in the Berlin final, Natalya Sadova, was almost 20 years older than her. We thought then that we will only see the real Sandra Perkovic 5 or 6 years later, and until then there would be many situations in which she would cry because she could not achieve high positions near discus throwers who  could be her mother. But things happened quite differently.

Already in March 2010. Sandra's discus, at the Croatian Winter Cup in Split, flew up to 66.85, which was at that moment the best result achieved in the last two years. We journalists tried to explain that to Croatian athletic fans using the following words: "This result would take Sandra to both Olympic in Beijing and World gold and Berlin!"

She herself commented by saying, "I'm not too surprised because I know how far my discus is flying in training. But to talk about the World and Olympic gold ... I am still too young to think about these results. Well, just in the last year Berlin did I begin to seriously think about throwing the discus. "

And so, again for a while we seriously thought about Sandra's results, although in the Diamons League she recorded very strong performances. Among other things, she won the New York City meet, but we still did not dare to declare her a candidate for one of the medals at the European Championships, in Barcelona. The start of the Championship was not the best. Sandra in qualification threw only 55.70, and she thought that she would not qualify for the final.

Disappointed, she jumped the fence in the Mixed Zone, and fled from the Croatian media. Later she told us she had not seen us. However, it finally turned out that the mentioned result was enough for the final!

"Oh, it was no problem. Sandra will be in the finals of all to break," argued her coach Ivan Ivancic.

Two days later, Sandra, already in the first series in the final, threw the discus to 62.80 and secured a medal. When we all saw her already with the silver around her neck, in the last series she threw 64.67 and took gold ahead of Nicoleta Grasu. She had thus become the youngest European champion in the discus throw in history. In the event where the next youngest finalist in Barcelona was still five years older than Sandra and  the Croatian discus thrower was born when Romania's Nicoleta Grasu prepared celebration of her 19th birthday!

Only then did the Croatian public understand what kind of pearl we have in athletics, and wanted to find out all about Sandra. And her life, even when we  leave aside the almost fatal rupture of the appendix, is a truly interesting story.

"I was an active and playful child, and when I was five years  old and my parents divorced, my brother and I moved with my mother to stay with my grandmother in Dubrava.  I started Athletic school, plus I e trained for basketball and volleyball, given that I was high. But in the sixth class of primary school, it was clear that athletics prevailed., I began to intensively engage in shot put and hammer thorw, and in 2001 came to the club Dinamo Zrinjevac. Three years later, in the first high school year, when I started training with coach Ivan Ivancic, he immediately recognised my talent for throwing the discus and so it all began. We started working together in the winter of 2005. Before that I was running and jumping, no connection. My real development began early 2009, after the surgery. When I entered the final of the World Championships in Berlin, it was an indication that we are working great. I train twice a day, in rain and snow, I throw the discus . We train for all kinds of conditions. A lot of trips we had to improvise, no gym, no pool ...", says Sandra.

The rest of  2010  brought Sandra victory on the Diamond League finals in Brussels, with the new Croatian record (66.93) and her first victory before the home crowd at the athletics meeting in Zagreb (65.56). Teenage girls, thus, begin in athletics and start making their first fee.

 "It was excellent on the Diamond League circuit  this year. But honestly, I do not think just about money. I'm not materialistic, seriously. That is in the last place when thinking about athletics. I can live off of what we do, but I always live well, always cope. I will, I believe,  continue to throw a very long time. I'm only 20, am not get tired or thinking about it."

Indeed, it was only the beginning, the start a career about which one day we will write as one of the most outstanding in the history of athletics. However, Sandra's golden series was briefly interrupted in 2011.

In June 2011, it was announced that Perkovic had failed two doping tests conducted in the month before at the Diamond League meetings in Rome and Shanghai. She tested positive for methylhexanamine, a psychostimulant banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency since 2010. Perković stated that the positive results were due to Nox Pump, an American-made energy drink product she had been using without knowing it contained banned substances. She did not request an analysis of her B-sample. The Croatian Athletics Federation gave Perković a six-month suspension, later confirmed by the IAAF, recognising that she had no intention to take the banned stimulant, nor was she aware of using it. The suspension ran until 7 December, keeping Perkovic out of competition for the rest of the 2011 season, including the World Championships.

Sandra was back in June 2012 in Helsinki, where she defended her European title. Two months later, she won the Olympic gold medal in London, with a new national record - 69.11. It was the last medal she won with her first coach, Ivan Ivancic (who died in August 2014).

In early 2013, Sandra began working with a new coach, Edis Elkasevic, a former World junior champion in the shot put, and also her boyfriend. With the new coach, she continues the golden streak interrupted in 2011. At the World Championships in Moscow, she won a gold medal and after that she added a second title as overall Diamond League winner.

The following year, at the European Championships in Zürich she won her third consecutive European gold, as the first female discus thrower in the history. Her discus flew to 71.08 m, which is the longest shot in the last 22 years!

Sandra Perkovic is only 24 years old and sees no end to her success. And, as she says, for a long time does not intend to engage in anything other than throwing the disc. An alternative to throwing the discus does not exist.

"I think what I would do if I did not throw the discus? No. No I would not have worked on something else."

Talking about the limits of her capabilities, she repeats two short sentences: "There are no limits! I just work every day and create one by one goal."

Personal Bests

Discus Throw: 71.08 (2014)

Shot Put: 16.99 (2011)

Yearly Progression

Discus Throw: 2006 – 50.11; 2007 – 55.42; 2008 – 55.89; 2009 – 62.79 NJR; 2010 – 66.93 NR; 2011 - 67.96 NR; 2012 - 69.11 NR; 2013 - 68.96; 2014 - 71.08 NR

Shot Put: 2007 – 14.47; 2008 – 15.46; 2009 – 15.46; 2010 – 16.02 (16.23 i) ; 2011 - 16.40 (16.99i); 2012 – 14.73 (15.82i); 2013 – -/-; 2014 – 14.35 (15.21i);

Career Highlights



 World Youth Championships, Ostrava




European Junior Championships,Hengelo




 World Junior Championships, Bydgoszcz




European Junior Championships, Novi Sad




European Junior Championships, Novi Sad (Shot Put)




World Championships in Athletics, Berlin 




European Championships, Barcelona




Continental Cup, Split




European Championships, Helsinki




Olympic Games, London




IAAF Diamond League Race



World Championships, Moscow




IAAF Diamond League Race



European Championships, Zurich




IAAF Diamond League Race

Prepared by Marin Šarec for the IAAF 'Focus on Athletes' project. Copyright IAAF 2010-2014.