Report18 Jul 2018

Perkovic extends winning streak in Bellinzona


Croatian discus thrower Sandra Perkovic (© AFP / Getty Images)

Sandra Perkovic maintained her unbeaten record in the discus when winning with her first-round throw of 68.92m at the Galà dei Castelli meeting in Bellinzona on Wednesday (18).

The double Olympic champion and three-time world returned to the Swiss city that last year played host to Perkovic’s lifetime best throw of 71.41m. Although she didn’t quite reach the 70-metre line this time, Perkovic finished comfortably ahead of Cuba’s Yaime Perez (64.39m) and extended her winning streak to 13 competitions.

“I am happy with my performance,” she said. “I am tired as I’m training hard for the European Championships in Berlin. I am chasing my fifth European gold medal. I wanted to return to Bellinzona to compete in this amazing stadium.”

World champion Andrius Gudzius won the men’s discus with a second-round throw of 66.78m. The Lithuanian produced three more throws beyond 65 metres, all of which would have been enough to win as Austria’s Lukas Weisshaidinger finished second with 64.50m.

In the men’s 100m, USA’s Michael Rodgers recorded two sub-10-second clockings: 9.94 in the heats and 9.92 in the final, missing Asafa Powell’s meeting record by 0.05 and his own season’s best by 0.03.

Turkey’s Jak Ali Harvey clocked a season’s best of 9.99 to place second, finishing ahead of Japan’s Yoshihide Kiryu (10.10) and world champion Justin Gatlin (10.13).

World indoor 60m bronze medallist Mujinga Kambundji edged out double Olympic gold medallist Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce by 0.02, winning the 100m in 11.13 to achieve her second consecutive win in Bellinzona. The poster girl of the meeting was competing for the first time since setting a national record of 10.95 at last weekend’s Swiss Championships.

“It was a great feeling to beat Shelly-Ann; she is a great sprinter and has won many titles,” said Kambundji, who will compete at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco on Friday. “I had expected to run under 11 seconds for a long time, so it was a great feeling to run 10.95. I am looking forward to the European Championships in Berlin. There will be a great enthusiasm for this event in Germany.”

Jonathan Kitilit, the second fastest runner in the world this year with 1:43.46, broke the 21-year-old men’s 800m meeting record with 1:44.38.

Five days after setting a PB of 14:24.24 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rabat, world 10,000m bronze medallist and 2015 world cross country champion Agnes Tirop dominated the women’s 5000m, setting a meeting record of 14:36.13.

Commonwealth champion Tobi Amusan from Nigeria clinched the win in the women’s 100m hurdles in 12.71 beating USA’s Evonne Britton (12.84).

USA’s Freddie Crittenden took a surprising win in the men’s 110m hurdles in 13.31, holding off Canada’s Johnathan Cabral (13.34) and USA’s Aleec Harris (13.37).

Another US victory came in the men’s 400m hurdles as David Kendziera won in 48.77 to beat US champion Kenneth Selmon (49.87).

In the men’s long jump Jamaica’s Tajay Gayle produced a PB of 8.19m with his first attempt and was the only athlete to jump beyond eight metres. South Africa’s Zarck Visser finished second with 7.95m.

Morocco’s Soufyan Bouqantar pulled away in the final straight to win the men’s 3000m in 7:42.24 ahead of Ethiopia’s Telahun Bekele (7:42.81) and Kenya’s James Kibet (7:43.13). Swiss rising star Julien Wanders set a personal best of 7:50.35.

Diego Sampaolo for the IAAF

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