News21 Aug 2010

Spencer takes the Finnish Elite Games jackpot in Joensuu


Josephat Menjo takes the mile in 3:53.62 at the Vattenfall Elite Games in Joensuu (© Paula Noronen)

St Lucia´s high jumper Lavern Spencer won the Finnish Elite Games series jackpot after taking a fifth victory in Joensuu on Saturday (21).

Spencer secured her first place by winning and collecting 40 points in the five-meeting series. On Saturday Spencer´s shape was not brilliant, but 1.82m with the first attempt was fair enough to capture the 30,000 series prize.

"Of course I´m very pleased with the first place in the overall competition, but not with my result today. I´m still planning to jump at some international meetings this season, and I believe I can set good results, too," said Spencer.

Jamaica´s sprinter Steve Mullings would also have had a chance to take the jackpot, but he was unable to run due to a hamstring cramp in the Zürich 4x100m Relay on Thursday. Neither could Trinidad & Tobago´s Josanne Lucas run the 400m Hurdles, and so the only obstacle for Spencer was Finland´s Tommi Evilä, but he could not win the Long Jump.

Denmark´s Morten Jensen leaped 8.10m in the second round with a jump that clearly seemed to be fouled, but there was not any trace of spikes on the wax board. Nonetheless Jensen´s second best leap of 8.05m would have been ample for the victory, with Evilä reaching 7.83m but was only the second best Finn in the competition, as Roni Ollikainen jumped a windy 7.86m in the sixth round. That meant that Evilä dropped into the fourth place overall, as Eemeli Salomäki won the Pole Vault with 5.35m. Salomäki had the bar raised the bar to his PB 5.61m, but none of the attempts were close.

Jensen placed second in the overall ranking with 38 points. Salomäki scored the same, but Jensen´s best result was ranked better than his.

Gatlin 10.28 into a headwind

The most followed athlete in Joensuu was the USA´s 2004 Olympic 100m champion and double World Champion 2005, sprinter Justin Gatlin, who ran his third comeback race after a four-year doping ban.

Gatlin clock 10.19 in the heats ran at the back straight with a +2.3m/s wind. In the final at the home straight there was a head wind of 2.0m/s and Gatlin clocked only 10.28. The USA´s Rubin Williams clocked 10.40 in second place.

"I´m dissapointed, because I wanted to race with Mullings, but I came here to win. In the heats I didn´t run all out, and in the final it was impossible to clock a good time," said Gatlin.

Another impressive solo run by Menjo

Kenya´s Josephat Menjo ran a massive PB 12:55.95 in the 5000m in Turku last Thursday and set an impressive PB 3:53.62 in the Mile in Joensuu. Both races were Menjo´s total solos, and he´s one of the most interesting distance runners in the world right now.

Menjo, seventh in the World Championships 10,000m in 2007, found a now challenge in New Zealand´s Adrian Blincoe who placed second in 3:59.27.

A-P Sonninen for the IAAF

Other winners:

Men: 400m: Matti Välimäki FIN 46.92, 800m: Anis Ananenka BLR 1.48:34, 110mH: Ryan Fontenot USA 13.48 (PB), HJ: Mikhlain Tsevtkov RUS 2.27, JT: Ari Mannio FIN 78.51.

Women: 1500m: Nicole Edwards CAN 4:11.44, 400mH: Latosha Wallace USA 57.27, Natasha Hastings 23.30, JT: Jelena Jaakkola FIN 55.03.

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