Antti Ruuskanen in Kuortane (SUL Julkaisut Oy/Juha Sorri) © Copyright
General News Tampere, Finland

Ruuskanen throws 84.95 in Tampere

Heavy rain didn't completely ruin the Finnish Elite Games opening competition in Tampere on Sunday (10).

Antti Ruuskanen threw his season best and Finnish season leading mark 84.95m in the men's Javelin while in the men's Long Jump both South Africa's Godfrey Mokoena and Sweden's Michel Torneus leapt 8.07m.

Ruuskanen's big throw in the sixth round was quite a big relief for the Finns. Ruuskanen has now a strong grip for a ticket to the Finnish team for the European Championships in Helsinki 27 June - 1 July.

The team will be selected next Sunday 17 June after the Javelin Carnival competition in Pihtipudas, but right now it seems that Ruuskanen, Ari Mannio and Teemu Wirkkala will be on the team.

Tero Pitkämäki, a multiple international championships medallist, hasn't thrown over 80 metres this season, but Jarmo Mäkelä, the Finnish Athletics Federation's Sports Director doesn't want say anything for sure, yet.

"We'll see what will happen in Pihtipudas. If anybody will win in Pihtipudas with a throw of 84 metres or more, he will be on the team", Mäkelä promises.

Ruuskanen thinks he is in a very good position now, but keeps his feet on the ground.

"If I put my nose up now and take the selection for granted, my results will come down quickly. Anyway, I'm in very good shape and think, that it's possible to improve my personal best (87.33m, 2008) in better conditions."

"The track was wet and the javelin vas slippery, and I've never been good in the rain. So, it must have been a very good throw," admitted Ruuskanen, whose second best was 81.36m in the fifth round.

Mokoena wants Olympic gold

The Long Jump competition got a good start as Torneus set his season best of 8.07m in the opening round, but then it started to rain heavily. Despite that, Mokoena set 7.99m in the third and finally 8.07m in the fifth round. As Torneus' second best was 7.84m, Mokoena took his third victory in Tampere.

"The conditions were poor, but competing in this weather was an important experience for the future. I'm satisfied and think that I can jump further in Turku on Tuesday. Then I'll fly back home to train for the London Olympic Games," said Mokoena.

Mokoena took a silver medal in Beijing four years ago and eagerly wants to improve in London.

"The Olympic gold medal is in my mind in every training session, but winning it will not be easy. It will take a jump of more than 8.50, which is my PB, but I can do it."

"Nobody has set a big jump this summer so far, because everybody has been preparing themselves for London, but we'll have a very good final there," Mokoena said.

Unfortunately the Finnish Record holder Tommi Evilä could not jump on Sunday due to fever.

The women's Long Jump was also won by a South African, as Lynique Prinsloo reached 6.38m in the third round.

Elsewhere

On the track, Sandra Eriksson started the women's 3000m Steeplechase so fast that she seemed on schedule to break Johanna Lehtinen's national record of 9:40.28. But she came up short over the last two laps. Eriksson clocked her SB of 9:51.41 and won with a huge gap of 13.57 seconds.

Kenya's Gideon Kipngetich won the men's 800m (1:47.48), and Australia's Kevin Batt a slow 3000m in 8:07.43. Finland's Jonathan Åstrand won the men's 100m in 10.56 and Great Britain's Niall Flannery was the fastest in the 400m Hurdles in 50.83.

Elisa Leinonen surprised the reigning European junior champion Nooralotta Neziri in the women's 100m Hurdles with a PB 13.50. Neziri clocked 13.54.

A-P Sonninen for the IAAF

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