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Sunday, 1 July 2012

Sandra Perković Retains European Championships Discus Title

Photo: AFP

Perkovic holds her nerve to retain the title




Sandra Perkovic of Croatia retained the title she won as a 20 year old in Barcelona with a throw of 67.62 in round three on Sunday.

But she had played with fire for two rounds with two fouls and was staring into the abyss when she stepped into the ring for sudden-death.

In response to the potential ignominy of a 68m thrower going out without a valid attempt, she put together the perfect discus which sailed out to the winning distance.

In none of her other rounds did she come close to that, the nearest being 62.93, but it hardly mattered. Gold was hers once again.

The German world silver medallist, Nadine Müller, took silver with a throw of 65.41, also in the third round, when she was trying to respond to the Croat’s new lead.

Nataliya Semenova of the Ukraine lifted bronze with a fifth round 62.91.

This season Perkovic has cleared 66m five times, her national record of 68.24 coming when she won the Shanghai Diamond League. She also won in Eugene with 66.92 and Bislett with 64.89.

Perkovic was economy itself describing the competition: “My first two attempts were not good. But fortunately I managed to improve on my third and I won.”

“I am satisfied with today’s competition,” explained Müller.

“The Croat really put one out there with that 67.62. It was not possible for me in any way today to counter that.

“But Perkovic was also a bundle of nerves today and only managed to pull it together in the third round. But you always have to take her into account.

“The competition was normal for me. I have won silver and lost nothing. I did dream about winning, but this is Ok too.”

The Rounds : First blood to Müller in round one when she hurled the disc out to 63.53.

Perkovic, meanwhile, fouled.

That meant after one throw, Anna Rüh of Germany (60.30) was in silver and Vera Cechlova of the Czech Republic in bronze (60.08).

Cechlova fouled into the cage to start the second round.

Semenova took advantage to go out to 61.03 to move into silver. Cechlova was out of the medals.

Müller goes into the circle and sends out another message to whom it may concern by thumping the 65m tape– 64.99. She had extended her lead.

Perkovic fouls again – this is getting serious. She was supposed to be the German’s arch-rival. Instead, she is in danger of an early shower.

Then she steps into the ring for the third throw and sends the discus spinning viciously like a flying saucer out to 67.62. Finally, she has bared her teeth. Müller has a scrap on her hands.

The German stepped into the circle for her third-round effort, bent her knees, then unleashed her long frame to send the implement even further than her first two attempts - 65.41. It was not quite good enough. But at least battle was joined between the two big protagonists of the event this season.

With three rounds left, only the best eight would be allowed to continue, this time throwing in reverse order depending on their standings.

One significant casualty was the bronze medallist from Barcelona, Joanna Wisniewska of Poland, who could manage no better than 57.72 for tenth.

As things stood, it was Perkovic in gold, Müller in silver and Semenova bronze.

On the restart, Julia Fischer, who has thrown a personal best 64.22 this summer, moves into bronze with 61.11, eight centimetres further than the Ukrainian. How would Semenova react?

There was not long to find out. 62.45 was her response and she was back in the medals.

For her fifth attempt, Müller went for power but there was no height and the discus skimmed low across the turf landing at 56m and she stepped out of the circle, disgusted with herself.

Photo: AFP

For her fifth round throw, Perkovic wanted some rhythmic clapping but unfortunately it coincided with a stadium interview with Niklas Sandells, Finnish favourite for the 1500m who had fallen in the race. She fouls anyway.

Last round: Fischer fouls. Her campaign is over and she finishes in fifth.

Rüh does not fare much better and stays in fourth with 62.65 from round four.

Semenova has a chance to improve the colour of her medal, but also fails to improve with 60.41.

Now it is up to Müller to upset the current order, but her throw is measured at 64.01. It is nowhere near enough and it is silver for her once again.



2. Nadine Muller (Njem) 65.41

3. Natalija Semjenova (Ukr) 62.91

4. Anna Ruch (Njem) 62.65

5. Julia Fischer (Njema) 62.10

6. Melina Robert-Michon (Fra) 60.41

7. Vera Cechlova (Češ) 60.08

8. Natalia Artic (Mol) 58.64

9. Dragana Tomašević (Bulg) 58.34

10. Joanna Wisniewska (Polj) 57.72

11. Monique Jansen (Niz) 57.03

12. Tamara Apostolico (Ita) 56.15


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