At 24, Sandra Perkovic has already won world, Olympic and European titles. First place in the IAAF Continental Cup, however, continues to elude the Croatian who has otherwise taken a global stranglehold on her event over the past three years.
On home ground in Split in 2010, Perkovic finished runner-up behind China’s Li Yanfeng. Four years on, at the end of another dominant summer in which she has produced seven of the eight best throws in the world and completed a hat-trick of European titles, she was denied once again.
Perkovic’s sole defeat in 13 competitions leading into the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup was inflicted by Gia Lewis-Smallwood at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Glasgow in July and the 35-year-old US champion proved to be the thorn in the Croatian’s side again in Marrakech.
Lewis-Smallwood applied the pressure with an opening round effort of 64.48m and improved to 64.55m in round three.
Perkovic leads the world list with 71.08m but could only manage a final-round best here of 62.08m which, in turn, was only good enough for third place.
Australia’s Commonwealth champion Dani Samuels, representing Asia-Pacific, claimed the runner-up slot with 64.39m.
“I am a total team player,” said Lewis-Smallwood, who was also the only thrower to beat Perkovic in 2013. “I loved being part of the Americas team here and it was great to get maximum points. It’s given me a lot of self-confidence to take into next year.”
Simon Turnbull for the IAAF