Gold medallist Croatia's Blanka Vlasic poses with her medal during the prize presentation for the women's high jump final at the 11th IAAF World Athletics Championship in Osaka September 2, 2007. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (JAPAN)
Is Croatia sexy or what?
Croatia's Blanka Vlasic celebrates with her country's flag after winning the gold medal in the Women's High Jump final at the World Athletics Championships in Osaka, Japan, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2007. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Antonietta Di Martino, Blanka Vlasic, Anna Chicherova.
Vlasic raises the bar to win gold
Croatia's Blanka Vlasic has won 12 out of the 13 outdoor competitions she has entered this year [EPA]
Blanka Vlasic, Croatian high jumper, confirmed her status as the premier athlete in the women's event with an easy victory in the at the IAAF World Championships in Osaka. Vlasic cleared 2.05 metres, a mark that wouldn't be matched as Russia's Anna Chicherova finished equal-second with a personal best of 2.03m and Italy's Antonietta Di Martino also cleared 2.03m to receive the other silver medal.
A year ago, the women's high jump was one of the most hotly contested events, but this season Vlasic has literally raised the bar to be way out on her own. The 23-year-old from Split has now won 12 of her 13 outdoor competitions this year, and unsurprisingly holds the season's world leading jump of 2.07 metres.
Vlasic went into the event in Osaka as the overwhelming favourite and didn't disappoint, but still said she was shocked she had won after becoming the first Croatian to claim a medal at the 11th world championships.
"I'm just relieved, I wanted it so bad," Vlasic said.
"Now I'm in a state of shock, I don't realise. I'm tired after this. I was the favourite, so had to deal with a lot of pressure.
"This is a championship, you cannot expect to clear every bar in the first attempt," the tall Croatian added.
"It was not easy to beat them."
First major title
Vlasic, twice world junior champion, secured her first major title at senior level before failing with three attempts when trying to set a new world record at 2.10m.
Di Martino was a surprise medallist after suffering a stress fracture in her left foot just three weeks ago.
"Three weeks prior to the world I had a stress fracture in my left foot and had to rest for two whole weeks," the jubilant Italian said.
"But I wanted so much to go to the championships and I am glad I did.
"I feel extraordinarily good, this is amazing. I am rejoicing.
"When I cleared 2.03 metres I said to myself 'Mamma mia!'"
Blanka Vlasic, Croatian high jumper, confirmed her status as the premier athlete in the women's event with an easy victory at the IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan. Croatia's Blanka Vlasic has won 12 out of the 13 outdoor competitions she has entered this year 2007.
Blanka Vlasic's Mother Was Ecstatic
Blanka Vlasic won gold at the World Athletics Championship, the first gold medal for Croatia at world championships.
Alan Eder & Ivona Barić
In a short interview for the official website of the Championship, Blanka Vlasic did not hide her thrill after winning the first Croatian World Championship gold.
- I am relaxed now, I wanted this medal very much. Now, I am in the state of shock and I still don't understand what is happening. I am very tired. I was the favourite and I had to cope with the pressure. This is the World Championship and you cannot expect me to clear every height in the first try, winning was not easy. Only after clearing 203 and 205 centimetres, I started having fun, not before. My dance? I could not repeat it now. I have a different dance at every competition. It gives positive energy to the audience, you have to spice it up a little.
The Vlasic family are celebrating in their apartment in Split, where Blanka's mother Venera was experiencing her daughter's performance very emotionally. She said:
- The mother is ecstatic. What can I tell you, this is the crown of her career. It was only after Blanka had won the gold medal that I watched all the jumps. I have not yet heard from them in Japan but, with this, she received her payback for all the sacrifices, surgeries and everything she went through.
Click on the photo to see the movie (source docteur-es-sport.fr, France):
Formated for CROWN by Nenad Bach
Distributed by www.Croatia.org This message is intended for Croatian Associations / Institutions and their Friends in Croatia and in the World. The opinions / articles expressed on this list do not reflect personal opinions of the moderator. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, please delete or destroy all copies of this communication and please, let us know! Or simply...enjoy and spread the word and good vibrations