Magnus Kirt after his surprise victory in Turku (© Hasse Sjogren)
As is often the case at the Paavo Nurmi Games, throwing events will take centre stage at the IAAF World Challenge meeting with world leader Daniel Ståhl and Olympic champions Anita Wlodarczyk and Thomas Rohler set to compete in Turku on Tuesday (11).
The 57th edition of the meeting will have better weather than the past few editions as it is set to be sunny with temperatures about 20C. It could also help the competitors in the men’s discus and javelin in their bid to break the Finnish all-comers’ records (70.98m and 93.09m respectively). Should they succeed, they will become the owner of an island in the Turku archipelago.
Swedish discus thrower Daniel Ståhl heads to Turku in great form. Having competed just twice this season, his eight measured throws average a phenomenal 69.83m. Competing in his secondary hometown of Turku, Ståhl, having already thrown a world-leading 70.56m in Doha, is a big favourite for the win but faces stiff opposition.
Fedrick Dacres is coming to the meet from quite a different angle. The 25-year-old Jamaican has already competed 12 times this season and in the past 12 days has recorded three straight competitions beyond 68 metres. He finished just 61cm centimetres behind Ståhl in Stockholm with a season’s best of 68.96m and then won with 68.64m in Halle and 68.10m in Kingston.
Magnus Kirt will be looking for a repeat victory in the javelin after winning in Turku last year with 88.73m. The Estonian will start as the favourite, having opened his season with an 89.33m throw in Vantaa and an 87.65m win in Tartu at the Gustav Sule Memorial.
Olympic champion Thomas Röhler has already competed five times this year, his most recent performance being an 82.56m win in Jena on Saturday. Fellow German Bernhard Seifert threw a big 89.06m personal best a couple of weeks ago, but has been a few metres short of that distance in his two most recent competitions.
Multiple world and Olympic hammer champion Anita Wlodarczyk is competing at the Paavo Nurmi Games – also part of the IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge – for the first time in her long and distinguished career. The Pole will be aiming to extend her season’s best beyond the 73.64m she threw on her season’s debut in Nanjing a few weeks ago.
China’s Wang Zheng, the winner in Nanjing, heads to Turku off the back of seven consecutive wins and a season’s best of 75.66m.
USA’s Donald Scott is the favourite in the men’s triple jump. The 27-year-old recently jumped a PB of 17.43m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Rome last week.
Uganda’s Winnie Nanyondo has been impressive over 1500m so far this season. In her two outdoor starts, she first broke the national record with 4:01.39 in Shanghai and followed it with 4:01.49 just three days later in Nanjing.
World leader Jenn Suhr goes against Canada’s Alysha Newman in the pole vault. 37-year-old Suhr has cleared 4.91m this season, while 24-year-old Newman arrives fresh from a 4.76m national record last week.
USA’s Chase Ealey and Jamaica’s Danniel Thomas-Dodd are the top names in the women’s shot put and both have gone well beyond 19 metres this season.
Following a recent win at the FBK Games, two-time world indoor champion Nia Ali will be looking for another victory in the 100m hurdles. She’ll take on world indoor silver medallist Christina Clemons and the two fastest Finnish women of all time: Nooralotta Neziri and Annimari Korte.
Mirko Jalava (organisers) for the IAAF