Tuesday evening (11) at the 57th Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku was perfect in many ways.
A record attendance of 13,345 witnessed a high standard of competition across all international events at the IAAF World Challenge and IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge meeting. The weather – with the temperature at 25C at the start and 21C at the end – made athletes’ lives easier too.
And while the island in the Turku archipelago that was on offer for anyone who broke the Finnish all-comers’ record in the men’s javelin or discus may not have got a new owner, Finnish all-comers’ records fell in two other events.
World and Olympic champion Anita Wlodarczyk returned to top form, winning the women’s hammer with a season’s best of 75.61m. The Pole, making her second competitive appearance of the season, had three throws beyond 75 metres with her winning mark coming in the third round. It added more than a metre to the Finnish all-comers’ record of 74.29m that she had set when winning the 2012 European title.
Compatriot Joanna Fiodorow was second with a season’s best of 74.71m while China’s Wang Zheng – the current IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge leader – was third with 73.52m.
The other Finnish all-comers’ record came in the women’s 100m hurdles, albeit in the heats.
USA’s Christina Clemons ran an easy 12.58 to win her heat, moving to fourth on the 2019 world list. But despite good conditions for the final, the winning time was slower than the earlier round. Clemons won comfortably in 12.85 ahead of Finland’s Annimari Korte (13.02) and Nooralotta Neziri (13.06). Neziri had earlier clocked a season’s best of 12.99 to win the other heat.
Estonia’s Magnus Kirt repeated his javelin victory from last year – and nearly even matched his winning distance – while there was also some delight for the home crowd as two younger Finns obtained the qualifying standard for the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.
Kirt led from the start, opening with 86.92m. Olympic and European champion Thomas Röhler also started well, 86.33m, but didn’t improve in the next five rounds and was once again unable to beat the Estonian.
Kirt produced his best throw, 88.32m, in round four. Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott finished third with a season’s best of 86.09m, his best mark since finishing third in Turku in 2017 with 86.48m.
Twenty-two-year-old Oliver Helander of Finland was fourth with a season’s best of 84.84m, the third-best throw of his career. Germany’s Bernhard Seifert was fifth with 84.02m while Finland’s Toni Kuusela produced a surprising 83.40m – a PB by nearly three metres – to place sixth.
There were surprises in the men’s discus, too, as world leader Daniel Ståhl of Sweden fouled all of his three attempts. His first effort, a narrow foul, landed beyond 66 metres but his two other throws were nowhere near.
Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres capitalised on Ståhl’s mistake and won with a stadium record of 66.74m. Olympic champion Christoph Harting reached a season’s best of 66.01m for second place.
Zhu shows promise
China’s Zhu Yaming showed flashes of huge potential in the triple jump. The 25-year-old won with a wind-assisted 17.36m (2.6m/s) but was nowhere near the board with his take-off. He also recorded a wind-legal season’s best of 17.21 on his last attempt.
USA’s Donald Scott was second with 17.05m and Finland’s Simo Lipsanen third with a 16.57m season’s best.
USA’s Chase Ealey won the women’s shot put with a stadium record of 19.38m but stopped throwing after the fourth round as she twisted her ankle. Jamaica’s world indoor silver medallist Danniel Thomas-Dodd was second with 19.03m.
Mike Rodgers edged US compatriot Justin Gatlin for a tight win in the 100m, clocking a season’s best of 10.00 to the world champion’s 10.01. Canada’s Crystal Emmanuel clocked a season’s best of 11.19 to win the women’s 100m ahead of Shania Collins (11.22).
USA’s Andy Bayer won the 3000m steeplechase in 8:18.29, beating last year’s winner Kenyan Nicholas Bett (8:21.20). Finland’s Topi Raitanen took seven seconds off his PB to finish third in 8:21.47.
Kenyan Cornelius Tuwei was fastest in the 800m in 1:46.37 while Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo clocked 4:06.21 for a narrow win and stadium record in the 1500m. Ethiopia’s Taye Fantu was second in a 4:06.27 season’s best.
Brazil’s Eduardo de Deus clocked a personal best of 13.42 to win the 110m hurdles with Italian Hassane Fofana a close second in 13.44, also a PB.
With Jenn Suhr being unable to jump, Canadian Alysha Newman won the pole vault with a 4.62m stadium record. Bulgaria’s Gabriela Petrova topped the triple jump with a wind-aided 14.29m, also recording a wind-legal 14.22m season’s best.
Twenty-year-old Ella Junnila cleared a national record of 1.94m to win the high jump. She now joins her mother Ringa Ropo as a national record-holder; Ropo holds the Finnish long jump record at 6.85m.
Mirko Jalava for the IAAF