High jumper Vlasic eyes jackpot to ease Beijing pain


ZURICH: World high jump champion Blanka Vlasic said on Thursday that her Olympic silver medal disappointment would give her extra motivation to win a share of this season's US$1mil Golden League jackpot.

Vlasic, 24, came a shock second behind Belgium's Tia Hellebaut in Beijing after dominating her sport for the past two seasons but can still celebrate if she wins the final two Golden League meetings, in Zurich yesterday and Brussels a week later.

Vlasic: Has already put aside the disappointment offinishing second in Beijing.

The Croatian is one of only two athletes to have won at all four of the previous Golden League events, with Kenyan 800m Olympic champion Pamela Jelimo the only other contender for a share of the prize.

“I don't like to think of Friday as being about revenge,” said Vlasic ahead of a well-attended meeting that will see her line up against Hellebaut and eight other Beijing high jump finalists.

“I am honestly not thinking about the other girls at all because I am always just jumping against myself. I have moved on and put the bitterness of Beijing behind me – but what happened there will make me more eager to win my next competitions.”

Vlasic said she had also taken comfort from the narrow margin of her Olympic defeat in which both women cleared 2.05m but with the Croatian needing one more attempt than Hellebaut.

“Every day I realise more and more that it was a great contest and nothing for me to be ashamed of,” said the towering 1.93m Vlasic, whose personal best stands at 2.07m.

“My season has already been special, winning almost every competition and with an even higher level of results than last year. Now I have a chance to win the Golden League jackpot and that is also a great motivation.

“I'm not thinking about the money at all, it would just be a privilege to be able to jump consistently all the way through the season. Not many athletes have done that and it would be something that is always remembered, like a great medal. But of course I know it is different.” – Reuters

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