Perkovic returns to form ahead of The Match with 67.78m in Zagreb

Sandra Perkovic
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Sandra Perkovic is heading to The Match in very good form after winning the discus on home soil in Zagreb with 67.78m

Olympic champions Sandra Perkovic and Sara Kolak fittingly stole the show at the Hanzekovic Memorial in Zagreb on Tuesday (3) night in fine style in front of their home crowd.

Perkovic, whose early part of the season was scuppered by an ongoing knee injury, is coming right back into form at the right time and she will be an integral part of Team Europe at The Match Europe v USA in Minsk on 9-10 September.  

Perkovic secured victory with a third round throw of 67.78m to beat Germany's newly-crowned national champion Kristin Pudenz, second with 63.25m, and fellow Croatian and European U23 champion Marija Tolj, who has also been selected for The Match, third with 62.57m.

The double Olympic champion and five-time European champion seems to be timing her peak to perfection as she won with her second best throw of the season. 

Her 68.58m at the European Athletics Team Championships Second League in Varazdin took her to the top of the 2019 European list at the start of last month and she backed up that result in Zagreb with the second longest mark by a European thrower in 2019. 

Her teammate Kolak will also be chasing a podium place at the IAAF World Championships in Doha - even more so after missing out in London two years ago when she was fourth.  

Kolak is heading to Doha in good form - her winning throw of 66.42m moved Kolak to fourth in the European list as she beat Canada's Elizabeth Gleadle (63.77m) and Poland's Maria Andrejczyk (60.91m). 

Four years on from winning world bronze in Beijing, Amel Tuka could be a big player for Team Europe at The Match and at the World Championships in Doha.

The Bosnia & Herzegovina middle-distance star is Europe's leading 800m runner after his 1:43.62 season’s best in Monaco in July and on the new track in Zagreb, he achieved victory in 1:44.78 ahead of Poland's Marcin Lewandowski (1:45.28) and Puerto Rico's Wesley Vazquez (1:45.34). 

Great Britain's Kyle Langford, who is also bound for The Match, led a European clean sweep in the other 800m race on the programme, winning in 1:46.69 ahead of Poland's Mateusz Borkowski (1:46.73) and the Czech Republic's Filip Snejdr (1:47.20).

Slovenia’s Maja Mihalinec was also among the winners, prevailing in the 200m in 22.88 from US athlete Brittany Brown (22.91) and the Bahamas' Tyna Gaither 22.93. 

Sergey Shubenkov, the 2015 world champion, was third in the 110m hurdles in 13.54 in a race won by Shane Braithwaite from Barbados in 13.47 while Finland's Topi Raitanen was second in the 3000m steeplechase in 8:25.51 as Canada's Matthew Hughes won in 8:23.42.