Stuart Weir wrote this fine piece on Sandra Perkovic, one of our sports’ most enduring athletes and one of Europe’s super starts; you should see her next at the European Champs, August 15-21, 2022, in Munich!
Sandra Perković has won the Olympic title twice, been World Champion twice, and been Diamond League champion seven times; what ambitions could she possibly have? She thought for a moment and said, completely serious: “I want to win it all again a few more times!” She added that she might have won the Diamond League seven times but not since 2018 so it was clearly time she won it again!
She added: “Track and field is my life, and I’m never happier than when I come to a stadium and win a title. That’s what inspires me. Sandra Perković is a discus thrower. That is what defines me as a person. After winning all the titles, I want more and more and to become the best discus thrower ever”.
In Oregon 2022, the smart money said that it was a dogfight between Valarie Allman and Sandra – and Sandra won that contest. However, someone forgot to tell Bin Feng of China, who threw a PR to win the world championship!
Sandra’s comments after the final say so much about her: “My biggest rival this year – Valarie Allman and I managed to beat her on the home soil. I did not expect the Chinese girl would beat us all. But I am also glad for her because she threw a huge PR, and I think you just have to be lucky. We all deserve the red carpets. I will continue next year in Budapest. I promised to continue my career until Brisbane . This event is just the love of my life, and I enjoy every moment of it. I was so happy to be here, able to fight and represent my country”.
Earlier this year, at the Birmingham Diamond League, I asked if I could have an interview. She said that she was too busy but would speak to me in Oslo. Was it a fob off with no intention of speaking? No, a bit of it. We arranged 9.30am on a certain day in Oslo. She turned up with her breakfast but didn’t eat any of it, so engaged was she in explaining to me the secrets of the discus.
We were talking about whether a discus thrower should always give 100% or if one might skip a throw to save energy for a really big one. Her answer said a great deal about her: “My main motivation is to satisfy myself and be proud of myself, so I find it hard not to give 100% even if I am way ahead of second place. When my career ends, I want to be able to look back and say, ‘Whoa, you did an amazing job’”. There is little doubt about that.
Earlier I quoted her: “Sandra Perković is a discus thrower”. That is certainly true but not the whole truth. She is a great person and one who wants to make a difference in her country. “It’s very important for me,” she explained, “that I am a role model for young athletes and young people. I want to show them that with hard work and a lot of love for your job, you can achieve everything in life that you wish. That’s the way I did it, the way I became a champion and won the titles. It’s very nice when you’re inspiring people. I think my purpose in this world is competing and inspiring people to show them that everything is possible and that you can be whatever you want”.
She also served as a member of the Croatian parliament “because it’s very important that young people are involved in politics. As an athlete, I have experience of traveling to many countries. I think it’s important to have people [in parliament] with a lot of experience. I am one of them, and I just want to show and explain how I became the best in the world – at what doesn’t matter because all jobs are similar. If you are giving all your heart and doing your best every single day – not just some days – you can accomplish a lot of good things, especially in politics”.
And you thought she just threw a discus!
Women – Discus Throw
World Athletics Statistical Summary
China’s Feng Bin won the gold medal in somewhat of an upset. Feng had only the 16th best performance in 2022, although she was the 4th best performer, but she came through with a personal best of 69.12 to win the gold.
Sandra Perković (CRO) won the silver medal to record her 5th consecutive medal in the event, after golds in 2013 and 2017, silvers in 2015 and 2022, and a bronze in 2019. This is the most medals ever in the women’s discus throw.
Valarie Allmann (USA), the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Champion and the 2022 world list leader, won the bronze medal with her 3rd round throw of 68.30. This was the first medal for the United States in the event at the World Championships. Their previous best finish was 5th by Seilala Sua in 2001, Stephanie Brown-Trafton in 2011, and Gia Lewis-Smallwood in 2013.