Tero Pitkämäki in commanding javelin form at IAAF World Athletics Final
Massive 91-metre throw provides reminder of what might have been in
Tero Pitkämäki produced a fine end to what has been a remarkable season with the javelin on Saturday. With his second throw at the World Athletics Final in Monaco, the closing gala of the IAAF Grand Prix season, Pitkämäki launched the javelin 91.33 metres, and he collected his 12th victory from 16 starts this season.
It was very much a case of "the usual suspects" in Monaco: Pitkämäki was joined at the top of the pack by the 2004 Olympic gold medallist Andreas Thorkildsen, who set a new Norwegian national record of 89.60, and by veteran Russian Sergei Makarov (86.69).
These two were among the medals in Helsinki at the IAAF World Championships, where the 22-year-old Pitkämäki experienced the only major setback of his season.
In front of a home crowd expecting him to bring home the bacon, Pitkämäki could only finish 4th. The winner in Helsinki - Andrus Värnik of Estonia - came down to earth with a bump in Monaco: he was back in 8th and last place, with a modest effort of only 76.11.
Pitkämäki's prodigious throw on Saturday was just 20 centimetres short of his personal best and the longest throw of the season, made in Kuortane in June. He also threw over 90 metres at the Oslo GP event.
Next season Pitkämäki, who is still very young for a javelin-thrower, will be hoping to make amends for the Helsinki slip-up by taking a medal from the European Championships in Gothenburg, and he also has his eye on Jan Zelezny's world record of 98.48, which dates back to 1996. Amazingly, Zelezny was also in action in Monaco, at the ripe old age of 39. He finished a creditable 4th, throwing a season's best of 83.98.
Also competing in Monaco on Saturday was long jumper Tommi Evilä, Finland's only medallist at the Helsinki World Championships. He jumped 8.00, but was disappointed that it brought him no better than 6th place on the night.
Previously in HS International Edition:
No medals from the javelin - Pitkämäki bitterly disappointed with 4th (11.8.2005)
IAAF World Athletics Final