Sunday, 29 August 2021

Velimir Šandor Wins Discus Throw Silver Medal at Tokyo Paralympics!

August 29, 2021 - Croatia Paralympian Velimir šandor (35) won the silver medal in discus throw in the F52 category, thus winning the first medal for Croatia at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo!

The athlete from Velika Gorica's Uspona won bronze five years ago in Rio de Janeiro, but now he has gone a step further, achieving the greatest success in his career.

After an exhausting and long competition, Šandor reached silver with 19.98 meters, while the gold was won by Poland's Piotr Kosewicz who was four centimeters better. The bronze was won by India's Vinod Kumar, throwing 19.91m, and Latvia's legendary Aigars Apinis, who boasts eight Paralympic medals in discus and shot put, was fourth in the end (19.54).

"This is a miracle; I don’t know what happened in general. I know I'm in Tokyo, but I don't know where I am because my soul and body are somewhere else," said Šandor, who is in a wheelchair after a car accident in 2006.

He admitted that waking up in the hospital after the car accident was one of the most difficult experiences, and this medal was the most emotional moment. He dedicated the medal to his mother with tears in his eyes. She passed away last year.

"This is definitely the most emotional moment, and I dedicate this medal to my mother, who left me last year. She pushed me into sports, motivated and encouraged me. So this is a dedication to her and mom; thank you very much. I know that you directed this," added the athlete.

Interestingly, Šandor won Croatia's first medal in Rio, just like in Tokyo.

"Sloup and I joked about the Paralympic Games starting with us. So they have to put me in Paris on the first or second day to open Croatia's series."

He admitted he hoped for bronze but won silver, with just four centimeters behind gold.

"As rower Damir Martin, whom I highly appreciate, said, this is not silver; it is not even platinum, this is a meteorite that fell."

The discus throwers arrived at the stadium as early as 5 pm; the competition started at 7:30 pm local time and ended around 10 pm. Šandor threw the seventh of eight finalists.

"I lost my strength while waiting; I froze; if I were second or third, I would surely throw over 20 meters. We have waited too long; this needs to be accelerated in the future."

He added that the Paralympic postponement came in handy to put all his dice on a new medal.

"Five years have passed since the medal in Rio, which is not small. So this year of delay is welcome to put things in order, to prepare both physically and mentally," he added.

His only regret is that he will not be able to see Tokyo as a tourist.

"Disappointing that we can't see any corner of this city. I am impressed with how they built all this and how they live in this anthill. I’m sorry I can’t experience this for at least 15 minutes."

He discovered that a lot had changed in his life after Rio. So he started training even harder and resigned two years ago so he could prepare for the Paralympics.

"I threw 18.23 in Rio, today 19.98. That is almost two meters more, which is not a small amount in sports. I used to spend a lot of energy on work and training."

In the end, he had a message to those who consider these Games and this sport a "circus."

"Whoever thinks this is "come, throw, and win a medal," just let them try. Behind all this is enormous work and effort, and I want to thank coaches Ivan Čengić and Miovil Rendulić because, without them, there would be no medal."

In 2006, at the age of 20, Velimir was in a car accident on his way back from a football tournament. He landed with the car in a ditch and awkwardly hit the car's roof, breaking his sixth cervical spine. He was diagnosed with tetraparesis, with partial arm movements and leg sensations, and little movement.

After completing a six-month rehabilitation in Varaždinske Toplice and after a two-year recovery in 2009, he became involved in athletics for people with disabilities.

Šandor hinted at his potential in Sochi at the World Games, where he won gold. In Doha at the 2015 World Cup, he was third, and in 2016 at the European Championships, he won silver.

A year later, he also won silver at the World Championships in London, and this year he was third at the European Championships in Poland.

His coach Ivan Čengić did not hide his enthusiasm for the silver medal either.

"When I entered this amazing stadium, I thought how great it would be to win a medal here. It's a wonderful feeling; I knew he could still, but everyone's fatigue coincided, and in the end, he won silver," said Čengić.

"We have made a step higher than Rio de Janeiro, and Paris is close. We still have gold left. I will not exaggerate, but this is a great success," he added.

He also commented on Šandor's technical performance.

"He could have been better; he was a little stiff. If it had gone easier, he would have safely threw 20 meters," he said.

Source: HRT

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Sunday, 29 August 2021

Sandra Perković Wins Diamond League Discus Throw in Paris!

August 29, 2021 - Back and better than ever, Sandra Perković has won the Diamond League discus throw in Paris!

Croatia's best female athlete reached her 44th victory at the Diamond League in her career with a throw of 65.68 meters in the decisive sixth series. With that, she surpassed the second-placed Cuban Yaime Perez by 37 centimeters, while the Olympic winner from Tokyo, American Valarie Allman, took third place with a throw of 64.51 meters.


Perković performed the best throw of the competition in the second series when she threw 66.08 meters and thus secured a place in the final series. Her result from the fourth series of 64.69m was the second-best in the first five series, and Perez repeated that range in the fifth series.

On the other hand, Allman made it to the final series with just one correct throw from the first five attempts. In the first series, the American threw 62.47m, and then she crossed four times. Very close to knocking Allman out of the finals was Portugal's Liliana Ca, who finished fourth with 62.43m, and France's Melina Robert-Michon, who finished fifth with 62.42m.

With this victory, Perković reached Perez in the overall standings of the Diamond League discus throw. Both now have 22 points, while Allman is third with 13 points.

After a disappointing campaign in Tokyo, where she was left without a medal after two consecutive gold medals in London and Rio, Sandra came back stronger than ever. Sandra is full of desire and motivation to show that she is once again the best in the sport and that the Tokyo Olympics were just on her bad day. 

Sandra is also a big favorite at the Hanžeković Memorial on September 14, and her main competitor will be the American Allman.

Source: 24 Sata

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Thursday, 7 November 2019

No More Diamond League for Sandra Perkovic as Discus Throw Removed from 2020 Program

November 7, 2019 - 'Discus Queen' Sandra Perkovic will not compete in the Diamond League next year as the discus throw has been eliminated from the program. 

T.portal writes that the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) has identified the disciplines that will be in the Diamond League program for 2020. However, there is no discus throw among those selected, meaning that Croatia’s best female athlete Sandra Perkovic will not compete in the most elite series of athletic meetings.

In addition to removing the discus throw from the Diamond League program, they dropped the triple jump and 200m and 3000m hurdles. The IAAF's decision applies to both the male and female competition.

Thus, we will certainly not see Croatia’s best female athlete in the strongest competition of the world's best female athletes next year. This also means a substantial financial loss for Sandra, as it includes tens of thousands of dollars in bonuses, and appearances in the Diamond League also binds generous sponsors.

Note that the 'reformed' Diamond League will have 14 meetings in the program and the already traditional Zurich finals. Athletes will compete in 12 disciplines, with IAAF leaders explaining that the discus throw, triple jump and 3000m hurdles race were eliminated because they are 'at the bottom of the list of interesting disciplines chosen by the polled spectators'. The 200 meter hurdles race was ’sacrificed' because of the much more popular 100 meter race.

However, it has been announced that the discus throw will be in one of the 12 Diamond League meetings, but will certainly not be in the Zurich finals.

The good news is that Sandra Perkovic will not run out of competition next year as she will find solace in the Continental Tour, a new series of meetings that will nominally be a step below the Diamond League. So, which cities will host Sandra Perkovic next season? Perhaps the cities where the IAAF World Challenge were held - like Sao Paolo, Osaka, Nanjing, Hengelo, Turku, Ostrava, Berlin, and Zagreb.

The IAAF also announced that at the end of next season, they would re-evaluate all disciplines, including those eliminated, in order to make a better decision on the discipline program for 2021. 

"I can understand all the disappointed athletes whose disciplines are not in the Diamond League, but we must also strive for more exciting disciplines," said Sebastian Coe, president of the Diamond League.

Thus, next year, only Croatian athletes Ana Simic (high jump), Filip Mihaljevic and Stipe Zunic (shot put), and Sarah Kolak (javelin throw) will compete in the Diamond League. 

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