Finnkampen: Finnish men grab victory, but women receive a thrashing
Captain Tommi Evilä improves Finnish long jump record once again
Although Finns were also in action on two wheels and four wheels over the weekend, the main event for most people was the annual athletics meet between Finland and Sweden, "Finnkampen".
This is one of the few old-style international competitions still left anywhere on the athletics calendar, and it retains its popularity hereabouts as a yearly chance to put one over on the auld enemy Sweden.
This year's competition was held in Gothenburg, on Sweden's West Coast. After the Swedes picked up a couple of gold medals at the World Championships in Helsinki, it looked a foregone conclusion that the Finnish women at least would be on the wrong end of a heavy defeat, but there were hopes that the men could produce enough gritty performances to eke out victory.
And so it proved: the men's team triumphed over Sweden by 212 points to 197, while the women were given a sound thrashing: they surrendered 230-179, and it might even have been worse for the Finnish girls if Sweden's world heptathlon queen Carolina Klüft had not injured herself in the 100 metres hurdles.
The men's javelin almost inevitably produced a Finnish 1-2-3, with Tero Pitkämäki throwing 86.90 to win.
As usual, it was the throwing events that put Finland's men in the driving seat. Triple victories came in the discus, the hammer, and the javelin, and in the shotput the Finns were 1-2-4.
Tommi Evilä, Finland's sole medallist in Helsinki, was appointed to lead the men's team, and he had an eventful weekend. Evilä improved on his Finnish record in the long jump on Saturday, and as the winning captain he was ceremonially dumped in the steeplechase water jump on Sunday.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Weekend Sports Round-up (6.9.2004)
Finnish men squeeze past Sweden in athletics meet; women lose by narrow margin (8.9.2003)