24 May, 2016

Perkovic Ready for Long Throws in Pre Classic Women’s Discus

  • Sandra Perkovic - photorun.net

Sandra Perkovic, the world’s best women’s discus thrower this century, will return to the Prefontaine Classic on the verge of Olympic history.

May 24, 2016
For Immediate Release 

Perkovic Ready for Long Throws in Pre Classic Women's Discus 

(The 42nd Prefontaine Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 27-28 at historic Hayward Field.)

            Eugene, Oregon – Sandra Perkovic, the world’s best women’s discus thrower this century, will return to the Prefontaine Classic on the verge of Olympic history.

            Hayward Field has seen few with the dominance of Perkovic, the reigning Olympic gold medalist returning to a ring where she has thrown more than 10 feet (almost 4 meters) farther than anyone else.

            The Pre Classic has an imposing world-class field that includes the three best Germans and two best Americans, all hoping to challenge Perkovic.

Sandra Perkovic is 25 and a member of Croatia’s Parliament, but globally she is known for throwing the discus better than anyone.  She was ranked No. 1 in the world last year by Track & Field News for the fourth straight time. A win in the Rio Olympics will make Perkovic only the second woman with two gold medals in the discus, matching East Germany’s Evelin Jahl, who won in 1976 and 1980.

Perkovic is well on her way, already this year recording the second and third best meets of her life, including an IAAF Diamond League record of 232-6 (70.88) last week at Shanghai.  A two-time Pre Classic winner, Perkovic has the four longest efforts ever recorded at Hayward Field from her victories in 2012 and ’14.  She has won the last four IAAF Diamond League titles.
The best trio of Germans seen at the Pre Classic also represents every German national title since the 2008 Olympics.  Each competed at the 2014 Pre Classic, but since then two have made the T&FN world rankings for the first time.

Nadine Muller, 30, is the farthest throwing German at 226-0 (68.89).  She was the bronze medalist in last summer’s World Championships and has a silver from 2011.  Muller has been the top-ranked German by T&FN in all but one of the last seven years and is a five-time German champ.

Julia Fischer (2015) and Shanice Craft (2014) are the last two German champions.  Fischer, 26, is a former World Youth gold medalist (2007), while Craft, 23, won the 2010 Youth Olympic Games as well as the shot put in the 2012 World Junior Championships.
American record holder Gia Lewis-Smallwood, 37, has ranked No. 2 and No. 3 in the world two of the last three years by T&FN.  She is the only American with more than one throw over 220 feet (67.06) and has three. Lewis-Smallwood is the three-time defending national champion seeking her second Olympic team.

Whitney Ashley, 27, is looking for her first U.S. Olympic team.  She won the NCAA title for San Diego State in 2012 and at 9th was the highest-finishing American at the World Championships in Beijing last year.

Melina Robert-Michon, 36, of France is seeking her fifth Olympic team.  She won silver at the 2013 World Championships and has French national titles dating to 2000, 14 in all.  Great Britain’s Jade Lally, 29, is a four-time British champ who won the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medal.

Women’s DiscusPersonal Best
Sandra Perkovic (Croatia)233-2(71.08)
Gia Lewis-Smallwood (USA)226-11(69.17)
Nadine Muller (Germany)226-0(68.89)
Julia Fischer (Germany)218-5(66.59)
Melina Robert-Michon (France)217-5(66.28)
Shanice Craft (Germany)216-2(65.88)
Jade Lally (Great Britain)213-7(65.10)
Whitney Ashley (USA)212-7(64.80)

            Fans can follow the event lineups on eugene.diamondleague.com.  The direct link to current start/entry lists is posted HERE and will include updates to all announced fields.  Additional news, photos, and videos may be found on PreClassic.com, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
            Tickets for the 42nd annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 27-28 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available now at www.GoDucks.com as well as from 1-800-WEBFOOT.

            The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite IAAF Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually.  The Pre Classic’s results score has rated No. 1 or No. 2 in the world in each of the last five years by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the Diamond League.  Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience and by NBC and NBC Sports Network.

            Steve Prefontaine is a legend in the sport of track & field and is the most inspirational distance runner in American history.  He set a national high school 2-mile record (8:41.5) while at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Oregon, that is the fastest ever in a National Federation-sanctioned race.  While competing for the University of Oregon, he won national cross country championships (3) and outdoor track 3-Mile/5000-meter championships (4), and never lost a collegiate track race at any distance.  As a collegiate junior, he made the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team and nearly won an Olympic medal, finishing 4th in the 5K at the 1972 Munich Olympics, at age 21.  After finishing college in 1973 and preparing for a return to the Olympics in 1976, he continued to improve, setting many American records.  His life ended tragically on May 30, 1975, the result of an auto accident, at age 24.  The Pre Classic began that year and has been held every year since.