It was a night of surprises in the main events at the 56th Paavo Nurmi Games, an IAAF World Challenge meeting, in Turku, Finland on Tuesday evening.
There were high hopes in the men’s javelin, with the possibility of the winner to become an owner of an island in the Turku archipelago, should the winning mark be farther than the Finnish record of 93.09m. But there were no such throws or anything close seen today. Andreas Hofmann, one of the world leading German trio who threw a 92.06m personal on Saturday, started with a good 85.98m, his best throw of the night. Instead it was 28-year-old Estonian Magnus Kirt, fresh off his 88.45m national record in Tartu on Sunday, who came up with a big one in the second round. The left-handed thrower hit an 88.73m leading mark and another NR, which would stay at the top until the end of the competition.
Germans Thomas Röhler, with 87.51m and Hofmann were second and third with world leader Johannes Vetter a distant fourth at 82.50m. Finn Tero Pitkämäki was fifth at 82.41m, but suffered what appeared to be a bad knee injury on his final throw. The new Finnish name, Oliver Helander, finished ninth with at 75.22m, but his third throw, the narrowest of fouls, landed around 87 metres so there is a lot more to expect from the 21-year-old this season.
Nowicki upsets Fajdek
As expected, the men’s hammer throw competition, part of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge, was fought between two Poles, Pawel Fajdek and Wojciech Nowicki.
Fajdek, the winner of the last three world titles who celebrated his 29th birthday on Monday, had won three straight meets here in Turku, with a 82.40m stadium record last year. But this time it was Nowicki who lead the competition from round one. Both athletes produced their best throws in the second round, the 29-year-old Nowicki reaching a 79.41 season’s best, the third best effort of his career. It was only the fourth time in 69 meetings between the pair that Nowicki defeated Fajdek, who threw 78.86. Qatar’s Ashrad Amjad El Seify reached a 77.04m season’s best for third.
The best women’s events were as expected, the discus throw and 3000m.
Croatian Sandra Perkovic started with an impressive 66.22m stadium record, a throw that looked far from perfect technically. But expectations for a big throw were not met as she fouled the rest of her five throws. Cubans Yaimé Pérez (63.81) and Denia Caballero (62.93) were second and third respectively.
Nineteen-year-old Ethiopian Meskerem Mamo held on to her lead in a sprint finish to win the 3000m in 8:38.65, snipping almost 17 seconds from the previous stadium record. Kenyans Norah Tanui (8:39.03) and Gloria Kite (8:39.07) took the next two places with Ethiopia’s Beyenu Degefu fourth in 8:39.46.
Sergey Shubenkov emerged as an impressive winner in the men’s 110m hurdles in a 13.18 season’s best and stadium record. Turkey’s Ramil Guliyev won the 200m in 20.23, another stadium record to match his 100m performance last year.
Youness Essalhi of Morocco won the 1500m in 3:38.39 and Kenya’s Nicholas Bett topped the 3000m steeplechase in 8:19.14, another stadium record, with Ethiopian Chala Beyo second in 8:20.03.
Frenchman Mamadou Kasse Hann won the 400m hurdles in 50.01 from lane eight while Maksim Nedasekau (BLR) won the high jump with 2.23m.
Briton Meghan Beesley was the strongest in the women’s 400m hurdles winning in 56.42. Ebony Morrison of the US won the 100m hurdles in 13.11 while Nikoleta Kiriakopoulou was the best in the pole vault with 4.51m. Ninon Guillon-Romarin of France was second and Maryna Kylypko of Ukraine third, both clearing 4.45m.
World leader Tori Franklin won the triple jump with 14.11m and Finland’s Kristiina Mäkelä opened her outdoor season with a 13.68 result for the second place.
The weather, as promised, was cool, with temperature at 11-14 degrees Celsius during the competition, but gladly there was no rain and the wind calmed down considerably as the evening progressed and the last events had almost windless conditions.
Mirko Jalava (organisers) for the IAAF