Morten Jensen of Denmark sails 8.21m in Espoo (Paula Noronen) © Copyright
General News Espoo, Finland

Jensen leaps 8.21m in Espoo

Denmark´s long jumper Morten Jensen produced the standout performance at the second Finnish Elite Games meeting of the season in Espoo on Wednesday (30).

Jensen opened the competition with an 8.21m leap which was enough to handle his rivals on a warm and sunny evening.

Tommi Evilä, Finland´s World bronze medallist from 2005, fought hard and jumped 8.07m in the third round. Korea´s Kim Duk-Hyeon reached the same result at his last attempt, but Evilä took second as his next best was 7.96m from round five. Nobody knew how long Evilä´s last jump was. It may have threatened his 8.22m national record but it was flagged red.

South African teenager Luvo Manyona finished his competition strongly with 8.03m and 8.02m efforts, but Finland´s Petteri Lax was again unlucky. His second jump was 7.94m - four centimeters above the entry standard for the European Championships, but the wind blew +2.2 m/s.

"For the first time in five years I feel I can jump really far, but at the Europeans my first goal is just to qualify," said Jensen, whose 8.25m PB dates back to 2005. "The Long Jump has such a high level in Finland right now, that I like competing here a lot."

The vertical Jump events were good on the mondo track of the Leppävaara Stadium, too. Saint Lucia´s Laverne Spencer cleared 1.95m in the Women´s High Jump and took good attempts at 2.00m, as well.

Finland´s Eemeli Salomäki won the Pole Vault after clearing 5.50m at his last attempt. Finnish Indoor record (2.32m last January) holder Osku Torro followed his example when flying over 2.25m in the Men´s High Jump, but 2.30m was too much for him this time.

"Otherwise I felt good, but by legs didn´t work well today", Torro admitted.

Karjalainen beaten by Söderberg

A piece of Finnish Hammer Throw history was made, when David Söderberg placed second behind Poland´s former Olympic and World champion Szymon Ziolkowski, who threw 75.42m.

European silver medallist Olli-Pekka Karjalainen was third, losing against a Finn for the first time since July 2003, when Söderberg was better in Lahti. In Espoo Söderberg threw 74.24m and Karjalainen just 73.73m.

The men´s Javelin Throw was won by Antti Ruuskanen, the sixth place finisher at the World Championships last year, but his 81.16m winning effort was far from what was expected. Ari Mannio, the 2009 European under-23 champion, didn't fare well either, with six non-measured throws. Ruuskanen and Mannio are fighting hard for the third ticket  for Finland´s javelin trio for Barcelona behind Tero Pitkämäki and Teemu Wirkkala. The winner at the traditional Javelin Carnival competition in Pihtipudas will be secure selection if he throws 84 metres or more.

"Everything is open still," said Ruuskanen. "Pihtipudas will be important, but there will be good opportunities to throw a big one at Lappeenranta and Lapinlahti Elite Games, too."

Mohamed opens his with 8:31.48 victory in the Steeplechase

On the track Sweden´s Mustafa Mohamed opened his season after an injury and easily won the Men´s 3000m Steeplechase in 8:31.48. Finland´s Joonas Harjamäki clocked an 8:35.75 personal best and broke the entry standard (8:38.00) for the Europeans, which means that Finland will send three to Barcelona in the event.

"This gave me self confidence," Mohamed said. "I believe that I can fight for the top places in Barcelona. The pace was just suitable for me today."

Josanne Lucas of Trinidad & Tobago found no challenge in the Women´s 400m Hurdles and clocked 55.41. In the 100m Jamaica´s Sherri-Ann Brooks was as clear winner in 11.32.

"My goal for this summer is to run under 11 seconds and stay well," said Brooks. "Finland is such a nice country to compete, that I´m looking for competing in Lappeenranta and Lapinlahti, too."

No athletes won their respective events in both Kuortane and Espoo, so four athletes currently share the overall lead with 19 points: Evilä, Eemeli Salomäki and Russians Valentin Smirnov (second in the men´s 800m) and Tatyana Gudkova (winner of the women´s 800m).

A-P Sonninen for the IAAF

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