It’s gold for Sandra!
Athletics: During the Olympics four years ago, Sandra Perković was in the hospital fighting for her life after her appendix burst. These Olympics went slightly better for Perković, as she brought home Croatia’s first gold medal, winning the discus and setting a new Croatian record. She did it in dominating fashion as Darya Pischlnikova, who holds the world’s longest throw this year, failed to get anywhere near her best. Sandra’s first throw of 64.58 meters was good enough to put her in third after the first round. She followed that up with a massive throw of 68.11 meters, just 13 centimeters off of her personal best, that put her in the lead with four throws remaining. She didn’t stop there though. On her next throw she smashed her personal best by almost a meter, throwing 69.11m, the second furthest throw in the world in 2012. It also beat her own Croatian record. On her next two throws, she could not improve from that mark, but there was no need. Pishchalnikova, who has thrown over 70 meters this year, threw 67.56m to move into second with one chance left to beat Sandra. Darya’s last throw was very poor, reducing her to tears, and Sandra went into her last throw having already won the gold medal. Sandra was overflowed with emotions as she did a victory lap around the stadium with the Croatian flag. It is Croatia’s first ever gold medal in track and field.
Sandro Sukno pulls the trigger
- Men’s Water Polo: The Barracudas moved to 4-0 as they beat Australia 11-6 in a game in which they were always comfortably in control. It was a great team effort as the ball was passed around well and they took advantage of their power plays. Croatia were slow out of the gates, failing to score in the first six minutes of the game. They managed to score two quick goals to finish the 1st quarter up 2-1. Maro Joković scored his second goal a minute into the second, and Australia quickly responded to keep the game close. Croatian starlet Sandro Sukno got on the board with 2:25 to go in the second period and Miho Bošković converted a penalty to give Croatia a 5-2 lead at halftime. Sukno blasted a penalty into the top corner out of the half giving Croatia a four goal lead but Thomas Whelan scored two to provide a much needed response to keep the Aussies in the game. Obradović and Nikša Dobud scored at the end of the third quarter to put Croatia up 8-4 with 8 minutes to play. Maro Joković completed his hat trick with a power play goal right at the start of the fourth to put Croatia up five and end it as a contest. Croatia’s keeper Josip Pavić came up with 12 saves, versus the Aussie keepers who made five. The win was crucial as it means all Croatia must do is defeat Kazakhstan, who are 0-4, on Monday to finish top of the group and avoid the U.S, Serbia, and Montenegro in the quarterfinals.
“Our form is improving. That’s the most important thing because no matter who comes from the other group it will be a very, very hard quarterfinal” -captain Miho Bosković
Igor Horvat scores one of his five goals
- Men’s Handball: Croatia’s Men’s handball team also moved to 4-0 on Saturday, registering their most impressive victory yet. Croatia put on a clinic against the reigning European champions and world runner ups Denmark. It was a physical and feisty match that Croatia won 32-21 thanks to near perfect performances by almost all the players. Denmark certainly weren’t at their best and had more than their fair share of bad luck but that took nothing away from Croatia’s victory. Top scorers were Domagoj Duvnjak, Igor Vori and Zlatko Horvat, who all tallied five goals. Croatia’s next game will be against Spain and will decide the winner of the group. Winning the group is crucial as it means avoiding the big favorites from Group A and the group winner will play either Tunisia or Argentina.
Pejčić prepares to shoot
- Shooting: Snežjana Pejčić, Beijing bronze medal winner in the 10m air rifle, nearly earned a medal in the 50m rifle 3 positions, finishing sixth in the prelims and moving up to a tie for fourth in the final. She shot 584 out of a possible 600 in the prelims, and 97.9 out of 111 in the final. Her worst shot was an 8.7(with 11 being perfect), and if she had shot a 9.8, she would have medaled. It was a great performance from her after she placed 18th in the air rifle, her favored event.
- Sailing: Tonči Stipanović blew an 11 point cushion in one race, finishing 12th in the tenth race of the Men’s Laser, as his nearest rival finished 2nd. Tonci now sits in fourth, one point out of third going into the medal race. The bronze medal will be decided on Monday between Stipanović and Rasmus Myrgren, with the winner taking third. In the men’s 470, Šime Fantela and Igor Marenić are in tenth halfway through the competition. Tina Mihelić is in 17th in the Laser Radial with one race left. Luka Mratović is in 19th with three races left in the RS-X. Enia Ninčević and Romana Župan are in 11th in the 470 through four races.