Poland’s world hammer champion Pawel Fajdek extended his winning streak to nine competitions when he won at the Paavo Nurmi Games, an IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge meeting, with 80.71m in front of a capacity crowd of 12,000 in the Finnish city of Turku on Thursday (25).
It was his second 80m-plus competition in the space of six days after winning at the European Team Championships with 81.64m in Cheboksary, Russia, on Saturday.
Fajdek took the narrowest of leads in round two with a 77.07m effort against Hungary's Olympic champion Krisztian Pars’ 77.00m. But the Pole improved to 78.18m in round three and then produced the winning throw of 80.71m in round four.
It was the first 80-metre throw at this stadium for more than 20 years and second best all-time behind Juha Tiainen’s 80.88m meeting record from 1984.
Behind the winner, there was a lot of movement in positions two to four, with Pars – who won in Turku at last year's meeting – finally taking second place with a 77.70m last-round throw.
Tajikistan’s Dilshod Nazarov, fifth at the 2013 IAAF World Championships, was fourth until his last throw of 77.47m, which gave him second place until Pars’ final attempt and third place at the finish of the competition.
Egyptian Mostafa Hicham Al-Gamal set a season’s best with each of his last two throws, 77.08m and 77.17m, for the fourth place.
Pitkamaki saves best until last
The most anticipated competition of the evening for the local fans was, of course, the men’s javelin, and a nice following wind behind the athletes promised a good competition.
So it proved, and it turned out to be the best men’s javelin competition of this season in the world with a depth better than any of the IAAF Diamond League meetings so far.
The competition got off to a great start with six athletes throwing beyond 80 metres on their first attempts.
Local star Tero Pitkamaki led with an 85.08m throw and European champion Antti Ruuskanen also started promisingly with 84.32m while Egypt’s Ihab Abdelrahman hit 83.63m.
The 26-year-old Egyptian then took the lead with an 85.50m season’s best with his third throw, and he held the lead until the final round.
Pitkamaki threw beyond 84 metres twice with 84.48m and 84.44m before his last throw. Teemu Wirkkala, fifth at the 2008 Olympic Games, also found his best form since 2010, throwing 84.39m in round two, followed by 83.12m and 83.33m with his fifth and sixth throws.
Wirkkala was third in the competition with Ruuskanen fourth and another Finn, Ari Mannio, recording the best result for fifth place in the world this season, 83.83m.
Pitkamaki, having the penultimate throw of the competition, concentrated hard before his last effort. The 32-year-old Finn seemed a bit unsure after his implement left his hand, but raised his hand in the air moments before the javelin landed, knowing it had gone far.
With the full stadium roaring, the javelin landed at 89.09m, the second-best throw in the world this season, only behind Julius Yego’s 91.39m world lead. It was also Pitkamaki’s best throw since September 2007 when he threw 90.33m in Osaka for the world title.
This throw also eclipsed 1999 world champion Aki Parviainen’s long-standing stadium record of 88.10m from 2000.
More stadium records
In the 1500m, Kenya’s Elijah Manangoi won in 3:36.81, another stadium record, and countryman Isiah Koech took the 5000m in 13:08.94.
In an all-Cuban duel in the 110m hurdles, Yordan O’Farrill just edged Dayron Robles for the win in 13.29, with Robles timed at 13.32 for a season’s best in the second place.
South Africa’s Godfrey Mokoena won the long jump (7.91m), Estonia’s Rasmus Magi took the the 400m hurdles in 49.53 and Veli-Matti Partanen clocked a 19:35.09 personal best in the 5000m race walk.
In the women’s events, Cuba’s Denia Caballero followed her huge 70-metre-plus throw in Bilbao last Saturday with a 65.17m to win the discus, breaking her own stadium record of 63.48m from last year.
South Africa’s Carina Horn lowered the 100m stadium record to 11.16, a personal best, and Kenya’s Nancy Chepkwemoi won the 1500m in 4:06.90, also a personal best.
Morocco’s Salima Alami won the 3000m steeplechase in 9:28.49, which was also a stadium record, and Britain’s Serita Solomon clocked 13.03 for the 100m hurdles win.
Minna Nikkanen tried a Finnish pole vault record of 4.56m three times, and won with 4.46m while youth athlete Elina Lampela was fourth with a 4.16m national youth record and a world-youth-leading height.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF