Sandra Perkovic on her way to setting a meeting record of 66.92m in Eugene (© Kirby Lee)
Sandra Perkovic and Vitezslav Vesely are currently the world’s best in their events, but they are not the only gold medallists in the long throws at the Prefontaine Classic, the next leg of the 2014 IAAF Diamond League in Eugene on 31 May.
Discus star Perkovic is the reigning world and Olympic champion and a two-time winner of the IAAF Diamond Trophy. The 23-year-old Croatian set her lifetime best just over a week ago in winning the Shanghai Diamond League with 70.52m, the farthest in the world since 1992. In 2012 she broke the Prefontaine Classic meeting record with 66.92m.
Challenging Perkovic will be world silver medallist Melina Robert-Michon of France, and the woman she succeeded as world silver medallist, Germany’s Nadine Muller.
USA’s Gia Lewis-Smallwood was the only woman in the world last year to defeat Perkovic, doing it on the world champion’s home soil in Zagreb and setting a PB in the process. Her throw of 66.29m moved her to fourth on the US all-time list.
Two young challengers in the field include Germany’s Julia Fischer, the 2007 world youth champion who recently improved her PB to 66.46m, and compatriot Shanice Craft, the 2012 world junior silver medallist who earlier this month threw a PB of 64.85m to defeat Fischer.
Javelin world champion Vitezslav Vesely is the only two-time winner of the IAAF Diamond Trophy in this event. This will be the European champion’s second appearance in Eugene, having finished second at the Pre Classic in 2012.
Despite being one of the world’s best throwers for the past decade, two-time Olympic javelin champion Andreas Thorkildsen has never before competed at the Prefontaine Classic. The Norwegian record-holder will be opening his 2014 campaign this weekend and is reported to be in the best shape he has been in for quite some time.
Young throwers are ready for a great challenge, led by 21-year-old Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago, as well as 22-year-old Russian Dmitri Tarabin, who earned bronze at last year’s IAAF World Championships.
The young throwers also include Sweden’s 23-year-old Kim Amb, who came close to his PB when finishing second in Shanghai earlier this month, as well as 2013 NCAA champion Sam Humphreys, who has a best of 83.14m.
Also in the field are the Czech Republic’s Petr Frydrych, an 88.23m thrower at his best, and Germany’s European under-23 bronze medallist Thomas Rohler.
Organisers for the IAAF
2014 IAAF Diamond League calendar
Doha, QAT – 9 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
Eugene, USA – 31 May
Rome, ITA – 5 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 11 Jun
New York, USA – 14 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 3 Jul
Paris, FRA – 5 Jul
Glasgow, GBR – 11-12 Jul
Monaco, MON – 18 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 21 Aug
Birmingham, GBR – 24 Aug
Zurich, SUI – 28 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 5 Sep