Olympic finalist Tero Pitkämäki, 23, this afternoon launched his spear to 91.53m, the longest throw in the world since 2002, making the young Finn the sixth furthest thrower in history. The performance took place in the third meeting of the Finnish Federation’s annual Elite Games series.
In the process, Pitkämäki, the U23 European bronze medallist and currently IAAF World Ranked fifth, beat Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway, behind who he had finished in eighth place last summer in Athens.
Norwegian record, twice
Thorkildsen, 23, the world's second ranked thrower, also improved his personal best (86.50 - 2004) to 86.82, and had a much better balanced series. In fact he twice bettered the Norwegian national record, his first 86.81m was a record, as was his third, 86.82m, as well. The earlier record had been held by Pål Arne Fagernes 86.74m from the Sydney Olympics qualification in 2000. Fagernes tragically died in a car accident on 4 August, 2003.
There is no doubting that Finland, the traditional home of the discipline now has a firm medal bet for the forthcoming 10th IAAF World Championships in Athletics, Helsinki, Finland (6 – 14 August), after a two year global championship medal drought.
The day of the Javelin Throw Final is 10 August, and the Helsinki Olympic Stadium is already fully booked for that night.
Pitkämäki has a good plan to handle that pressured situation:
"I must throw again over 90 metres! I got a great help from the tail wind today, but I never dared to dream about this kind of throw. Perhaps 87 - 88 metres, but never 91 and something!"
"Yes, I expected about the same result as Tero, so this was even a bomb for me. Just before his 5th attempt I said to him: “now it goes!” – and it certainly did, said Pitkämäki´s coach Hannu Kangas.
For this season Pitkämäki set an aim of 87.50 metres, but now he must reset a new goal.
"The medal in Helsinki is on my mind, but most important is to keep in this shape."
TDK Golden League schedule
Pitkämäki will compete in Paris, Rome and the Oslo meetings of the TDK Golden League, and at home at the GE Money Grand Prix (Helsinki IAAF Grand Prix) as well as at the Finnish Championships in Pori, 15 – 17 July.
"Unfortunately I must pass the Finnish Javelin Carnival in Pihtipudas on 10 July. It will take place about 40 hours after Rome. I don´t want to take that risk."
Pitkämäki's previous best of 85.90m was achieved last weekend at the Euroepan Cup First Division match in Gävle, Sweden, which he won, and in which the Finnish team as a whole gained promotion to the Super League. He began 2005 with a PB of 84.64m.
Olympic champion making good recovery
Thorkildsen went through an Achilles tendon operation last autumn, and has had a difficult start to his summer season, but now it seems that he is in a good shape again.
"I have found a good pair of throwing shoes and my technique is improving day by day. I saw Tero's massive one and I think it was not a perfect throw – he has a capacity for even more this season," said Norwegian.
"No, it was not a perfect throw: the Javelin did not fly in the beginning quite as it should," admitted Kangas.
Finnish record holder and former World champion Aki Parviainen, the second best thrower of all-time (93.09m – 1999; on the same Kuortane runway) was back in sixth with 75.35m. There's nothing wrong with Parviainen's physical condition, but his technique is bad right now.
Olsen puts 21.27m
Joachim Olsen of Denmark was another big thrower in Kuortane. He set a solid Shot series of 21.27 – x, 20.68 – 20.43 – 20.85 – 20.37 and won easily ahead of Finland´s Ville Tiisanoja (20.29) and Tepa Reinikainen (20.10).
“I like this in Finland: people respect and understand also the throwing events and not just running. I lost my technique for some early summer weeks, but I have found it again.
“My aim for this summer is 21.50m and a medal in Helsinki, but I can’t see why I couldn’t produce even 22m,” said Olsen, the bronze medallist in Athens last year, said.
Reinikainen´s (6th World indoors and outdoors in 2003) result is not brilliant itself, but it was a very good sign and a relief for him. Reinikainen had a knee operation last autumn and still has had pains in it for many weeks this summer.
The women’s Javelin was won by Czech Barbora Spotakova: 62.15m. Finland´s Taina Kolkkala produced 59.53, but the more than 4500 spectators were looking out for double European bronze medallist Mikaela Ingberg in her first competition of this year.
Ingberg is not yet in a top form: 55.21, but it must be remembered, that she had her shoulder operated on in October 2004.
World champion is not satisfied in High Jump
Jacques Freitag of the South Africa won the men’s High Jump with 2.28m but was not satisfied with his jumps.
“I was tired after long travelling and my timing did not work. I think there are four guys in Helsinki who can win the World Title: Stefan Holm of Sweden, Jaroslav Rybakov of Russia, Jaroslav Baba of the Czech Republic, and of course me,” said Freitag.
Averbukh wins Pole Vault
European champion Alexandr Averbukh of Israel cleared 5.65m in the Pole Vault, and Adnreas Möller of Denmark leaped 16.60m in the Triple Jump.
Sini Pöyry of Finland won the women’s Hammer with 67.75m.
Leigh Julius of the South Africa was the fastest in men’s 100m in 10.35.
The Finnish record holder (13.13/04) Hanna Korell ran 13.20 in the women’s 100m Hurdles, and Ari-Pekka Lattu (NR 49.36/03) was the best in men’s 400m Hurdles in 50.26 seconds.
The 4th part of the Finnish Elite competition series will take place in Lapinlahti Sunday 3 July.
Antti-Pekka Sonninen in Kuortane for the IAAF
IAAF Editorial Manager
26 June 2005 , Kuortane, Finland.
Javelin Throw:(position; name; country/club; distance)
1 Tero Pitkämäki NurU 91.53
80.45 X 79.60 82.36 91.53 -
2 Andreas Thorkildsen NOR 86.82
86.81 85.29 86.82 - - 85.36
3 Jarkko Koski-Vähälä UllK 77.23
4 Daniel Rangvaldson SWE 77.15
5 Esko Mikkola NokP 77.13
6 Aki Parviainen JoeK 75.35
1 Joachim Olsen DEN 21.27
21.27 X 20.68 20.43 20.85 20.37
2 Ville Tiisanoja KU58 20.29
3 Tepa Reinikainen KngK 20.10
4 Taavi Peetre EST 20.04