World Athletics Championship - Vlasic will defend title
World high jump champion Blanka Vlasic will defend her title despite a hamstring injury which nearly forced her to pull out of the upcoming World Championships in Daegu.
"A few days ago I lasted only 24 attempts in practice and decided to pull out of the World Championships, but I could only live with my decision for 12 hours," Vlasic told a news conference in Split.
"I changed my mind; I am going to the worlds and I will either win or fall on my sword," she said.
The 27-year-old Vlasic won the 2007 world gold medal in Osaka and repeated the feat two years later in Berlin, while she also captured the 2010 European title in Barcelona.
She won the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and set a personal best of 2.08 cm in Zagreb in 2009, one centimetre short of the world record set by Bulgaria's Stefka Kostadinova at the 1987 World Championships in Rome.
Vlasic, who has struggled to produce her best form this season, said she was determined to battle through the pain in her bid to get a hat-trick of world titles.
"The most important thing is to have no regrets when I end my career one day; I just can't sit in front of the television (in the final) on September 3 and wait for someone else to win the event.
"I would only make it easier for my rivals and pulling out now would also be unfair to my team and my fans; I'll have three more practice session before we leave for Korea and if my muscle doesn't snap in the next week or so I'll be there.
"It's been a tough season because I am used to clearing the bar at two metres every time I have a go. I never thought I would end an event at 1.90 metres.
"I've let myself down a bit with my form but I've struggled with illness and injury and under the circumstances I feel no pressure whatsoever for the first time in my career.
"My goal is to reach the final round and prove once again that I have what it takes to compete with the best athletes in the world."