Eight world leads and two IAAF Diamond League records were set in Doha last Friday and it was Sandra Perkovic’s mammoth 71.38m discus launch through the late afternoon Doha sky that set the evening’s tone.
It was the second farthest throw of the two-time world and twice Olympic champion’s career, landing just three centimetres shy of the Croatian record she set last year in Bellinzona, Italy, the farthest throw in the world since 1992. And obviously, her third-round toss in Doha was also the best international season debut the 27-year-old has ever achieved. And she saw it and felt it immediately upon release.
“I felt it right away,” she said, “as soon as it left my hand. And I was so pleased. I thought it might be even farther but when you throw that far you’re just so satisfied with the feeling. And I did it myself. The rest of the girls were throwing 62, 66 metres. And then I threw 71.”
Was throwing so far so early a surprise? Her assessment was quick, confident, matter-of-fact.
“No it wasn’t a surprise,” Perkovic said. “I came here really prepared and I showed the other girls that I’m ready. This year I started with 69 metres in Split (in early March) and I knew then I was ready to throw further.
“I came here and in the warm-up I knew I was going to throw over 70 metres. And I threw 71.38m, just three centimetres short of my national record. I think I have lots of metres to show this year because I’m really prepared.”
What, more specifically, does “lots of metres” mean?
“You’re going to see,” she said, smiling. “You’re going to see at the end of the season.”
And, she insists, missing her national record by less than half the width of her smart phone was hardly a frustration.
“It’s perfect,” she said. “When you open your season just three centimetres short of your personal best, you know everything’s great. I need to save something for the rest of the season. I never opened with a throw that far. I usually open with 68, or around there. 71.38m shows a lot.”
The performance, she said, has also fed her motivation to keep improving.
“At the World Championships last year I had five throws, all around 70 metres, which showed me that I can still do great things in the discus. So after eight years I’ve never gotten bored and I’m staying fully motivated.”
Bob Ramsak for the IAAF