Antti Ruuskanen in London (Getty Images) © Copyright
General News Joensuu, Finland

Ruuskanen beats Pitkämäki to secure Finnish series jackpot

Olympic Javelin Throw bronze medallist Antti Ruuskanen took the 10,000 euros jackpot of the Finnish Elite Games Series as the series concluded in Joensuu on Saturday (18).

Tero Pitkämäki, who won the Samsung Diamond League competition in Stockholm on Friday, had to place ahead of Ruuskanen to pass him in the total scores according to an international point table, but Ruuskanen´s fourth throw of 84.09m proved too much for him.

Pitkämäki threw 82.14m in the second round, but had to settle for third place behind Lassi Etelätalo, who produced 82.40m at his final attempt. Ari Mannio completed the solid level of the competition with his 81.39m in the sixth round, too.

Ruuskanen admitted that traveling from Stockholm to Joensuu, in eastern Finland, was not the best possible preparation for Saturday´s competition.

"I did felt every throw in my body, but I am very satisfied with both the overall first place and this victory, because all the best Finns were here. I feel I can improve my personal best during the rest of this season and after that I´ll start a new project for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016."

Russia´s Sergey Litvinov set a good winning result in the men´s Hammer Throw reaching 77.25m in the fifth round. In addition, he threw 75.78m, 76.38m and 76.22m, as Finland´s David Söderberg only reached 73.52m.

Neziri threatens sprint hurdles national record

Nooralotta Neziri also had a chance to take the jackpot, but her time of 13.13 in the women's 100m Hurdles was enough only for the third place overall.

Neziri, the European Junior Champion in 2011, placed second as Canada's Nikkita Holder ran 13.01. Neziri´s result was only 0.03 seconds short of her national record which she ran last Sunday.

Niclas Sandells held the pace in the men's 3000m until the final lap. Then Bobby Curtis of the USA took command easily en route to a 7:57.48 to beat Sandells by 3.60 seconds. Italy´s Giordano Benedetti was the fastest in the 800m in 1:47.85 - 0.55 seconds ahead of Irishman Paul Robinson.

Russia's Yelena Korobkina lead nearly from the start in the women's 1500m to take the win in 4:06.73 ahead of Australia's Olympian Zoe Buckman who crossed the line in 4:08.24.

Keskisalo announces retirement

One important piece of news for Finnish long distance running was heard in Joensuu as Jukka Keskisalo announced in front of his home audience, that his career has come to the end. Keskisalo, the 3000m Steeplechase European champion in 2006, and national record holder (8:10.67) qualified for the final at London Olympic Games, but had to stop running after 2000 metres due to a foot injury.

"I don't know exactly what I´ll do in the near future, but I've heard that there is life outside running, too", said Keskisalo who was 8th at the 2009 World Championships.

"This decision was made well before the Olympic Games", he added.

Antti-Pekka Sonninen for the IAAF