A walk around the Mladost Stadium and a press conference at the finish line marked the beginning of the final campaign of the 2013 Zagreb IAAF World Challenge – the 63rd Hanžeković Memorial.
As Meeting Director Ivana Brkljačić said, around 40 medallists from the recent World Championships in Moscow are expected to come, and the presented start lists for the discus throw and 110m hurdles memorial race guarantee a rerun of the World Championships finals in Zagreb.
World Champion Sandra Perković will compete against the silver and bronze medallists from Moscow, France’s Melanie Robert-Michon and Cuba’s Yarelis Barrios, as well as fourth-placed Nadine Müller of Germany.
„The 110m hurdles Memorial Race will also be a rerun of the World Championships final, because all three medallists from Moscow are coming to Zagreb: gold and silver medallists USA’s David Oliver and Ryan Wilson, and bronze medallist Russia’s Sergey Shubenkov. Also sharing the field with them will be former world record holder and the 2008 Olympic Champion from Beijing Dayron Robles of Cuba“, Ivana Brkljačić said.
„The fact that 480 finalists of the Erste Blue League, a competition which has included over 4000 elementary school children from the whole of Croatia, will also compete among all these stars, is the most that the Hanžeković Memorial Zagreb Meeting has given to Croatian athletics and its popularization“, Meeting Director emphasized.
Mayor Milan Bandić commented on the performance of the world’s best female discus thrower Sandra Perković, whose results he considered miraculous.
„What Sandra has been doing in the discus throw in the past years borders on science fiction. It is hard to imagine, let alone make it come true, that a 23-year old beats all her opponents and wins everything that can be won“, said Bandić, who announced a special bonus if Sandra threw over 70 metres at the Zagreb Meeting:
„If she throws over 70 metres in Zagreb, then we will make sure for her to receive an extra bonus. There is money for the best ones even in this time of recession!“
„Croatian athletics needs this meeting, because, for years, we have had world-class athletes, besides whom also Zagreb and Croatia are promoted. This is why I especially thank Mayor Bandić, as nobody except for the City of Zagreb could organize it“, said Luciano Sušanj, Chairman of the Croatian Athletics Federation.
Director of the Croatian Athletics Federation and national team head coach Siniša Ergotić said that, besides Sandra Perković and a number of other Croatian athletes, three more Croatian national team members from Moscow would appear at the Zagreb Meeting.
„Ana Šimić will compete in the women’s high jump, an event that has become a traditional highlight of this Meeting, Marin Premeru will compete in the shot put and Ivan Horvat in the pole vault; the latter will have a chance to make up for his somewhat poorer performance in Moscow.
I would also like to thank the organizers for including B races in the 100m and 400m, in which a large number of Croatian young athletes will participate. It is very important for us as we would like to form at least two relay teams that could participate in the European Championships in Zurich next year“, Ergotić said.
You can watch video from press conference here: