29 July 12:40 (BST)

Croatian discus thrower PERKOVIC targets record fifth consecutive European gold

BERLIN - Sandra PERKOVIC (CRO) has her sights on a fifth European discuss title and a slice of track and field history at the Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships.

The Croatian thrower has won the past four European titles: at Barcelona in 2010, Helsinki 2012, Zurich 2014 and Amsterdam 2016.

And if she wins again she will become the first athlete, man or woman, to win five consecutive continental crowns in the same individual discipline.

PERKOVIC enters the championships, which start in the German capital on Tuesday 7 August, a firm favourite after a dominant run of form over the past 12 months.

She has won all nine competitions she has entered in 2018 and her winning streak of 14 stretches back more than a year, starting in Bellinzona, Switzerland, when she threw 71.41 metres, the best mark in the world for 25 years.

PERKOVIC has suffered a handful of defeats in the past few years, notably to Cuba’s Denia CABALLERO at the 2015 IAAF World Championships.

But the last time she was beaten in direct competition by a European thrower was way back in 2010.

The two-time Olympic and world champion is not taking anything for granted, however, despite being more than six metres better than the next best European, Germany’s Claudine VITA, this year.

"There will be lots of girls challenging [for medals in Berlin], there is a lot of respect between us," she said.

"Everyone knows that I want to be number one and that no other number is interesting, but they also know that I can have a bad day.

"The German girls will be strong in Berlin. But maybe it’s time one little Croatian girl takes the title in Germany."

PERKOVIC is relishing a return to the Olympic Stadium, having not competed there since she was a teenager.

"I really like Berlin, it was there that I had my first big senior competition, the world championships in 2009. I've only got good memories and good emotions for the city.

"It's nice to think that nine years later, I’m back in the same city where everything started, where I started to throw very far and where I started to become a good discus thrower."

Despite all her achievements, PERKOVIC remains highly motivated.

"I just love the sport and I love discus throwing. The happiest person on earth is Sandra PERKOVIC when she's throwing the discus more than 70 metres."

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