Solo 13:06.28 run by Josephat Kiprono Menjo in Lapinlahti (© Paula Noronen)
Kenyan Josephat Kiprono Menjo's solo run in the 5000m was the best performance at the fourth of the five-meeting Finnish Elite Games in Lapinlahti on Sunday (18).
Menjo said good-bye to his rivals at the start and didn’t let the strong head wind on the back straight bother him. He kept his pace easily and clocked the second best time of his career, 13:06.28, only 5.21 seconds from his PB set in Heusden-Zolder 10 July.
Menjo’s compatriot Geoffrey Kipsang placed second, more than 35 seconds behind.
"I was positively surprised!” Menjo said. “It's not easy to run a good time alone, but I felt very good during the race and could push in the head wind, too. Absolutely one of the best races in my lifetime.”
South Africa’s World 800m champion Caster Semenya ran her second race of this year and improved her season’s best to 2:02.41.
"I am very pleased with my performance today,” Semenya said. “I got what I was looking for, but next time I want to run the first 600m faster, in 1:28 or 1:29. This wasn't easier than in Lappeenranta, as I had to push hard to the wind in the second lap."
"I don't know where my next race will take place,” she added. “Now I'll fly back home and start to train harder."
Mullings impresses in the Sprints
Jamaica's Steve Mullings took two impressive victories in the men's sprints. First he clocked 10.14 in the 100m, in which Finland's Hannu Hämäläinen placed second with his new PB 10.41. The wind was legal (+1.7), but in the 200m it was too avobe the legal limt (+2.8) as Mullings rolled to a 20.21 win . Finland's Jonathan Åstrand ran faster than ever before: 20.69.
"I'll be back for The Elite Games in Joensuu in August and meanwhile I'll train in Jamaica. I'm very satisfied with my performances in Lappeenranta and here", smiled Mullings.
In the Women's 100m the USA's Joanna Atkins again beat Bahamas' Sheniqua Ferguson 11.32 to 11.36, and in the 400m Hurdles Trinidad & Tobago's Josanne Lucas took the first in 56.36.
As Saint Lucia's Lavern Spencer took the women's High Jump after clearing 1.93m, there are now three leaders in the overall Elite Competition: Mullings, Lucas and Spencer.
Järvenpää comes back in the Javelin
Lapinlahti was the very last opportunity for the Finns to show their form for the European Championships in Barcelona. Finland's 4x100m team secured the ticket by running 39.72 seconds.
In the men's Long Jump Sweden's Michel Torneus leapt 8.21m (wind +3.4 m/s), but Petteri Lax took the third place on the Finnish squad with a windy jump of 7.75m and 4th place.
Tero Järvenpää, fourth at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, came back strongly in the Javelin Throw. His 83.81m came in the fourth round, enough for him to win the competition, but not for the Barcelona-selection.
The same held true for Antti Ruuskanen, sixth at the World Championships last year, who was third here (79.37m). Harri Haatainen, who had been pre-selected for the team, threw 81.26m in the second round.
Haatainen, Tero Pitkämäki and Teemu Wirkkala will be the Finns at the Europeans. Järvenpää and Ruuskanen were nominated as home reserves.
Other winners in Lapinlahti:
Men: 800m: Prince Mumba ZAN 1:48.20, 1500m: Will Leer USA 3:42.42, 110mH: Juha Sonck FIN 13.74w, PV: Vesa Rantanen FIN 5.45, SP: Om Prakash Singh IND 19.12.
Women: 1500m: Maggie Infeld USA 4:10.57, LJ: Tabia Charles CAN 6.49w, DT: Tanja Komulainen FIN 54.27.
[Click here for full RESULTS]
Finland to send a squad of 39 to Barcelona
The Finnish Team for the European Championships was announced after the Lapinlahti Games. The team will consist 32 men and seven women, plus three home reserves.
One of the biggest question marks will be Jukka Keskisalo, the reigning European champion in the 3000m Steeplechase, who placed only 12th in the 1500m in Lapinlahti after clocking 3:45.92.
Keskisalo suffered a foot injury in February and March, which delayed which training. Keskisalo has been able to run only one race in his main event in this year, and in the flat his speed has not been as good as hoped.
The most experienced member of the team is Hammer thrower Olli-Pekka Karjalainen, who has competed in every major international championship since 1998.
100m: Hannu Hämäläinen, Joni Rautanen
200m: Jonathan Åstrand
800 m: Mikko Lahtio
1500m: Mikael Bergdahl, Jonas Hamm, Niclas Sandells
5000m and 10000m: Matti Räsänen, Jussi Utriainen
3000m Steeplechase: Joonas Harjamäki, Jukka Keskisalo, Janne Ukonmaanaho
110mH: Juha Sonck
400mH: Jussi Heikkilä
HJ: Osku Torro
PV: Vesa Rantanen Virtain Urheilijat, Eemeli Salomäki
LJ: Tommi Evilä, Otto Kilpi, Petteri Lax.
DT: Frantz Kruger, Mikko Kyyrö
HT: Olli-Pekka Karjalainen, Tuomas Seppänen, David Söderberg
JT: Harri Haatainen, Tero Pitkämäki, Teemu Wirkkala. Reserves: Tero Järvenpää, Antti Ruuskanen
Decathlon: Mikko Halvari
50km Walk: Jarkko Kinnunen
4x100m: Hannu Ali-Huokuna, Hannu Hämäläinen, Joni Rautanen, Niko Taavitsainen, Jonathan Åstrand, reserve: Visa Hongisto
400m H: Ilona Rant
3000m Steeplechase: Sandra Eriksson
PV: Minna Nikkanen
DT: Tanja Komulainen, Sanna Kämäräinen
HT: Merja Korpela
JT: Oona Sormunen
Antti-Pekka Sonninen for the IAAF