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  1. Collapse Details
    Re: Finnish news (Pitkämäki 85.89, Ruuskanen 85.28)
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    (PNG highlights - continued from part 1)

    mLJ:
    1. Godfrey Mokoena RSA 802 (+1.9)
    2. Elvijs Misans LAT 790 (+1.9)
    3. Henri Väyrynen 773w (+3.2)
    4. Zarck Visser RSA 768 (+0.9)
    5. Tommi Evilä 764 (+1.6)

    Evilä had the crowd with him, but he's just too old for this. His first jump looked promising (757 with plenty to spare on the board) but while he usually gets better as the competition goes on, that didn't happen today. Visser looked flat; Misans was the only one who could seriously challenge Mokoena.

    wPV:
    1. Angelina Zhuk-Krasnova RUS 461
    2. Minna Nikkanen 441
    3. Aleksandra Kiryashova RUS 415
    -- Yarisley Silva CUB NH

    Silva also no-heighted here last year, her only NH that year (and this is her only NH this year, so far). She opened at 441 but couldn't get her jumps right. Zhuk-Krasnova cleared both 451 and 461 on her third attempts and broke the MR (the only MR I can recall being broken today). Nikkanen looked good at the lower heights but wasn't even close to clearing 451, which would have broken her own outdoor NR.

    w100H:
    1. Vashti Thomas USA 13.08 (+1.1)
    2. Karolina Koleczek POL 13.14 (13.11 in heats)
    ..
    4. Matilda Bogdanoff 13.47

    Bogdanoff's season opener. She looked good in the heats until she started smashing into the hurdles mid-way through; she was ahead of Thomas at that point. In the final she got a much cleaner run but still faded at the end. She does seem to now be our #2 behind Neziri, though.

    m200:
    1. Karol Zalewski POL 20.68 (+0.5)
    2. Roberto Skyers CUB 20.78
    ..
    4. Jonathan Åstrand 21.13

    w100:
    1. Nataliya Pohrebnyak UKR 11.27 (+1.3)
    2. Muna Lee USA 11.38
    3. Hanna-Maari Latvala 11.41

    Full results here.
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    Re: Finnish news (Pitkämäki 85.89, Ruuskanen 85.28)
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    Highlights from the various event carnivals, which were held this weekend:

    mJT:

    1. Tero Pitkämäki 85.12
    2. Sami Peltomäki 80.36 PB
    3. Ari Mannio 78.63
    4. Teemu Wirkkala 76.83 SB (season opener)

    Ruuskanen had a supposedly minor leg problem and withdrew. Pitkämäki looked great, but that's really it as far as good news are concerned; we don't have the depth we used to have. Mannio has been looking flat for a while now and Wirkkala's first competition after injuries, while not a total catastrophe, didn't promise much. It's nice to have a new 80+ guy but unfortunately I doubt he'll repeat it soon; he just nailed it perfectly on that one throw, the others weren't even close.

    mTJ:
    1. Aleksi Tammentie 16.61 PB (+1.6)
    2. Kristian Pulli 16.32w (+2.4)

    Tammentie moved to equal sixth on the Finnish all-time list. He's the rare athlete who's never been brilliant but just keeps developing in slow and steady increments year after year (he'll turn 28 in a month), always nice to see. Pulli (born Sep '94) is way ahead of where Tammentie was at that age, ditto 18-year-old Simo Lipsanen who jumped 15.53 (-0.7) for third. If only they would have the same steady progression...

    mLJ:
    1. Henri Väyrynen 805w (+2.3)
    2. Arttu Halmela 786 PB (+2.0)
    3. Roni Ollikainen 753

    Ollikainen was a disappointment. He's had too many injuries lately and isn't nearly in his 2012 shape but I'd still have expected better. Väyrynen was an Euro Junior bronze medallist in 2009... in the pole vault. He's the second Finn to successfully make that particular switch lately (Juho-Matti Pimiä, who qualified for the EIC LJ final in 2009, was also originally a pole vaulter).

    wSteeple:
    1. Camilla Richardsson 9:56.44 PB
    2. Minttu Hukka 9:56.51 PB

    Both are still relatively young (born in Sep '93 and Mar '95 respectively) and developing nicely. They're now #5 and #6 on the Finnish all-time list.

    w100H:
    1. Nooralotta Neziri 13.04 =NR (+1.6)
    2. Ida Aidanpää 13.22 PB
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    Re: Finnish news (WJC team now up)
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    The Finnish team for the World Junior Championships in Eugene can be found here. We're sending four men and eleven women, pretty much the opposite of our usual teams for regular WCs or OGs; then, lack of female talent has never been the problem, it's just that we can't keep them developing. Depressingly, the team includes no javelin throwers...

    Three additional athletes (two men and one woman, all hammer throwers) will have one more opportunity to reach the required standards and earn a ticket.
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    Finnish news (Neziri 12.98 NR)
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    As noted by Powell in the Glasgow SC thread, Sandra Eriksson improved her own Finnish NR by 10 seconds to 9:24.70 (I thought before the competition that 9:25 might be possible, so that was good!) Unfortunately she still lost to Charlotta Fougberg; hopefully that won't happen in Zürich.

    Highlights from the latest Elite Games meeting in Kuortane:

    mJT:
    1. Ihab Abdelrahman EGY 84.79
    2. Jakub Vadlejch CZE 82.97 SB
    3. Ari Mannio 82.42

    Nothing brilliant to report. Wirkkala was a miserable 10th with 74.10 and doesn't look like an Euro Champs contender.

    mLJ:
    1. Zarck Visser RSA 818 (+1.3)
    2. Arttu Halmela 777

    Visser finally looked like, well, Visser again. Unfortunately all our good LJers are injured right now...

    w100H:
    1. Vashti Thomas USA 12.97 (+0.1)
    2. Hanna Plotitsyna UKR 13.00
    3. Nooralotta Neziri 13.03 (12.98/+1.5 NR in heats)
    4. Matilda Bogdanoff 13.30 PB

    Finally! Neziri also got under the old NR in the final, with a bit of luck she could make the final at the Euro Champs.

    m200:
    1. José Carlos Herrera MEX 20.40 (+0.5)
    ..
    3. Jonathan Åstrand 20.97

    mSteeple:
    1. Donnie Cowart USA 8:38.89
    ..
    5. Jukka Keskisalo 8:49.77 SB

    Keskisalo's season opener. He really didn't seem to be in great shape, although he probably still had the fastest final lap of anybody in the race. I didn't expect him to be a medal contender in Zürich or anything but it was still a bit disappointing; apparently injuries have disrupted his training.

    wHT:
    1. Merja Korpela 68.44 SB (EC standard)

    wJT:
    1. Kim Mickle AUS 61.89
    ..
    3. Oona Sormunen 58.43 SB (EC standard)

    Full results here.
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    Finnish news (Etelätalo 84.98 PB)
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    Belated results from yesterday's Elite Games meeting in Joensuu. I was out of town and only saw the first 40 minutes of the meet, so can't say much apart from noting the highlights.

    mJT:
    1. Lassi Etelätalo 84.98 PB
    2. Ihab Abdelrahman EGY 81.15

    Well, this makes the EC selections a lot more interesting! Etelätalo opened his season here, he's been struggling with elbow and other injury problems for a long time.

    mSteeple:
    1. Łukasz Parszczyński POL 8:28.03 SB
    ..
    3. Jukka Keskisalo 8:29.89 SB

    Although far from his peak form I have to say this was unexpectedly good from Keskisalo, given how much he's improved since Kuortane.

    wSteeple:
    1. Sandra Eriksson 9:33.80
    2. Birtukan Fente ETH 9:35.49
    ..
    4. Johanna Lehtinen 9:48.50 SB
    6. Camilla Richardsson 9:56.51

    Eriksson keeps looking good, but I'm really glad to see such a good time from Lehtinen; she's now 35 and has been struggling with injuries forever. She still is, but at least she's up and running; hopefully she can stay at least somewhat healthy for a while now. Richardsson only narrowly missed her PB from a month ago.

    w100H:
    1. Ida Aidanpää 13.08 PB
    2. Matilda Bogdanoff 13.12 =PB

    This event is sizzling hot by Finnish standards! The times of 12.98, 13.08 and 13.12 may not be much on the international stage but they're #1, #2 and #3 on the all-time Finnish performers list. With a bit of luck one of them (most likely Neziri) could make the final at the Euros.

    Full results here.
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    The Finnish javelin selections will apparently be based almost entirely on the NCs. Pitkämäki is in; whichever two of Mannio, Ruuskanen and Etelätalo place highest at the NCs will accompany him. If someone other than those four throws 86 at the NCs... well, things would get ugly but I'm just dreaming.
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    Pitkämäki has scratched from the NCs. Apparently he has a minor groin injury; the reports say it shouldn't be a problem at the Euros, but we'll see.
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    The national championships (Kalevan kisat) were held this weekend, and the Finnish team for the Euros announced after them. As usual, I will analyse the Finnish team and its chances at the Euros; given that so many notes about the NCs will be part of that analysis, I won't post a separate recap of the NCs as that would be largely redundant, and the non-redundant parts would be of little international interest. I will only note that there were high hopes one of our male LJers would jump 795 and qualify for the Euros, but that didn't happen; 19-year-old TJ/LJer Kristian Pulli won with 781, ahead of Arttu Halmela and Tommi Evilä (who jumped 776 for a SB with a spare 10-15 cm on the board!) Those interested can find the full results here.

    As usual, the chances of most of the Finnish team are either slim or none. "Slim" mostly means a slim chance of making the final as medals are quite simply out of reach. Still, there are a couple legitimate medal contenders and some with outside possibilities, so it could be worse; in all likelihood, a few years from now it will be worse.

    m100:
    Eetu Rantala - PB 10.30/SB 10.30 - chances: none
    Ville Myllymäki - 10.43/10.43 - chances: none


    Rantala has normally been the better of the two, but neither of them impressed at the NCs; the only way either of them makes the final is if half the field gets disqualified.

    m200:
    Jonathan Åstrand - 20.50/20.92 - chances: none

    He hasn't been in his best form this year, and the fact he scratched from the NCs due to some or other niggle doesn't really increase my optimism. If he were in peak form I'd give him slim chances but now, nah.

    m110H:
    Jussi Kanervo - 13.88/13.88 - chances: none
    Arttu Hirvonen - 13.90/13.90 - chances: none


    Kanervo (now studying in the US) has become our top hurdler and was pretty close to his PB at the NCs, so I hope he can improve it at the Euros. He has a slim chance of making the semis, perhaps. Apart from one meeting Hirvonen has always clocked 14+ and was third behind Kanervo and Elmo Lakka at the NCs; I had completely forgotten that he had the EC standard. I really doubt he can clock another 13.9 in Zürich, and even if he did it wouldn't help much.

    m400H:
    Oskari Mörö - 50.33/50.33 - chances: slim
    Jussi Kanervo - 50.67/50.67 - chances: none


    They both were promising juniors a couple years ago, but Mörö was derailed by injuries and Kanervo has progressed quite slowly. But they're still young and developing, so all is not lost. Mörö improved his PB by half a second at the NCs, which was expected after a similar improvement to his flat-400 PB earlier this year; there might be a bit more in there, perhaps if all goes perfectly he could dip under 50. It's hard to tell where Kanervo is right now as he hasn't competed at this distance since the US collegiate season, but I'd say Mörö is the better of the two.

    mSteeple:
    Jukka Keskisalo - 8:10.67/8:29.89 - chances: slim
    Janne Ukonmaanaho - 8:27.08/8:33.09 - chances: slim


    Keskisalo's comeback has succeeded better than I thought (and certainly better than it appeared just a few weeks ago) and he still has a mean kick, but he isn't remotely in 8:10 shape and is surely hoping for ultra-slow heats and final. Keskisalo and Ukonmaanaho haven't raced each other this year so it's hard to say which of them is in better form; Ukonmaanaho doesn't have that kind of kick, but may still have a slim chance of making the final.

    mHJ:
    Jussi Viita - 226/226 - chances: slim

    He's been our steady #2 jumper for quite a few years now, but nothing indicated he would make the Euros until he suddenly improved his PB from 224i/223 to 226 at the NCs. Good for him, and as HJ is the event for unexpected things happening I'm not writing him off completely when it comes to making the final, but he'll need to repeat his NC jump for that to happen.

    mTJ:
    Aleksi Tammentie - 16.61/16.61 - chances: slim

    I have some hope here. He's in career-best shape and nearly made the final at the fake Euros in 2012, with a then-PB 16.32 (12th place was 16.43); the standard will likely be somewhat higher here, but if he can PB here as well (or at least get close) he might sneak in, and he jumped 16.55 at the NCs so his PB wasn't just a one-off.
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    mSP:
    Arttu Kangas - 19.74/19.74 - chances: slim

    There were some doubts as to whether he'd be selected; although he did have the standard, the meeting where he achieved it wasn't on the national alphabet's list of meets that would count. He was supposed to show good form (19.50+) at the NCs and didn't (though he did win, with 19.22). But he's young and needs the experience and the alphabet people like to inflate the team size, so in the end he was selected anyway.

    mHT:
    David Söderberg - 78.83/77.57 - chances: some
    Tuomas Seppänen - 75.31/75.22 - chances: slim


    Söderberg has been in very good form this year; saying he's in career-best shape is pushing it since his PB is from 2003, but he's close. He appears much better than he did in 2003 because there are less 80+ throwers both internationally and in Finland (no O-P Karjalainen) and he's actually placed third in two IAAF Hammer Throw Challenge meetings. Finally becoming our #1 seems to have inspired him and it will be a disappointment if he doesn't at least make the final; he has a decent chance of making the top 8, but a medal would need a miracle. Seppänen might also make the final if he shows up in his best form, though the odds are likely against it.

    mJT:
    Tero Pitkämäki - 91.53/86.63 - chances: good
    Antti Ruuskanen - 87.79/85.28 - chances: good
    Lassi Etelätalo - 84.98/84.98 - chances: some


    Pitkämäki has been arguably the world #1 this year, but he's something of a question mark since the Euros will be his first competition in more than a month; the groin issues won't help. Ruuskanen is a good big meet thrower and has now thrown 82+ in seven of his last eight competitions; on an EC formchart they should both be in the top 5 (along with Veselý, Röhler and Hofmann). Etelätalo narrowly edged out Mannio for 2nd at the NCs (80.24 vs 80.00); he still has injury woes, and I'm a bit concerned about the qualification since he often gets his best throws in the final three rounds. But if he does make the final and is still in one piece he might have some outside chances.

    m50kW:
    Jarkko Kinnunen - 3:46:25/no SB - chances: slim
    Veli-Matti Partanen - 3:54:54/3:54:54 - chances: none


    There's been less hype about Kinnunen this year than normally; sadly, I'm afraid this is because he's not in brilliant shape and doesn't expect much from himself. Still, he did win the 20K at the NCs (Partanen was a distant 3rd, behind Aleksi Ojala); I suspect Kinnunen will finish somewhere between 10th and 20th, like he normally does in major meets, and Partanen quite some way behind him.

    m4x100:
    Rantala, Myllymäki, Åstrand, Hannu Hämäläinen (10.41/10.55), Samuli Samuelsson (10.50/10.50) - chances: slim

    On paper it's a decent team by Finnish standards, and if they get their act together they could approach the Finnish NR of 39.29 (from EC '10) and maybe even make the final. But they haven't had a lot of relay races this year, and those they did have were underwhelming.

    w100/200:
    Hanna-Maari Latvala - 11.32/11.32 - 23.24/22.98 - chances: slim

    She's had some good races this year and won silver in the 200 at the Universiade last year. I'm not sure she's quite in that shape now, but surely very close; the ECs will be a much tougher meet, though. It's hard to say which will be her better distance.

    w400:
    Katri Mustola - 53.20/53.20 - chances: slim

    The out-of-nowhere team member. Until this year her PB was 58.71 and her best achievement was second at the national under-16s in 2007 (41.07/300 m), but she's improved in leaps and bounds, recording a PB in every meet (7 out of 7) and most recently chopping another 1.39 seconds off in the NC final. I'm giving her slim chances simply because I don't know when she'll stop.

    w100H:
    Nooralotta Neziri - 12.98/12.98 - chances: slim
    Ida Aidanpää - 13.08/13.08 - chances: none
    Matilda Bogdanoff - 13.12/13.12 - chances: none

    By Finnish standards this event's been on fire this year; as I noted in a previous post, these times are #1, #2 and #3 on our all-time list. Neziri is easily the most consistent of the three, and dominated the NCs; she might have some chances of making the final. The other two would likely be happy with a place in the semis.

    wSteeple:
    Sandra Eriksson - 9:24.70/9:24.70 - chances: good
    Johanna Lehtinen - 9:40.28/9:48.50 - chances: slim

    Eriksson has been in by far her best shape ever, and since she's #2 on the European list she has to count as a serious medal contender. She didn't look brilliant in the NC steeple but she did look good in the 1500, which she also won (and she did win the NC steeple easily, so there was no need to press it). As I noted, though, she doesn't feel comfortable in kicking before the last barrier has been cleared, which could be a problem. Unfortunately Johanna "walking injury" Lehtinen crashed into a barrier at the NCs and hurt her leg (and the reason why, apparently, was that her leg cramped first and caused the crash...) She should be able to recover for the Euros, but we'll see.

    wPV:
    Minna Nikkanen - 460i/451 - chances: slim

    The 451 she cleared at the NCs is a new outdoor NR, and she looked really good there... not 460 good, or even 456 good (that was the next height she attempted), but at least one of her attempts at 456 might also have cleared 451. The vaulting conditions at the NCs were excellent, but I'd say she has a decent chance of making the EC final as 435 was enough in both 2010 and 2012. Beyond that, though, we're very much in "slim" territory.

    wDT:
    Sanna Kämäräinen - 60.67i/59.38 - chances: slim
    Katri Hirvonen - 57.44/57.44 - chances: none


    Kämäräinen hasn't quite retained her indoor form but she's still been in career-best outdoor shape and might make the final. The selection of Hirvonen was even more doubtful than that of Kangas, as she had also only reached the standard in a meet not on the alphabet's list and had shown even less good form elsewhere; what's more, she isn't the young talent Kangas is. But the alphabet likes to select people; it gives the impression we have a lot of international-level athletes and accordingly they must have done something right. If she clears the qualification I'll be very surprised.

    wHT:
    Merja Korpela - 69.56/68.44 - chances: slim

    It usually takes around 67 to make the final, and she's capable of that, but at the NCs she seemed to have problems and only won narrowly with 65.67 (one of her worst results this year), so I'm far from confident. If she does make the final she'll surely go out after round 3; she's fairly consistent but doesn't have a lot of upside.

    wJT:
    Oona Sormunen - 60.56/58.43 - chances: none

    After last year I had some hope she might be getting places, but that has not been the case; she's clearly been the Finnish #1, as if that were somehow a good thing.

    w4x100:
    Latvala, Neziri, Milja Thureson (11.74/11.74), Jasmin Showlah (11.75/11.80), Minna Laukka (11.76/11.87) - chances: none

    Nuff said. Though they aren't as bad as our 4x4...

    w4x400:
    Mustola, Sanna Aaltonen (54.09/54.09), Ella Räsänen (52.37i/54.40), Anniina Laitinen (55.05/55.05), Hilla Uusimäki (55.29/55.29) - chances: none

    By modern Finnish standards, this is actually a brilliant line-up. By international standards, well...
    Last edited by LopenUupunut; 08-04-2014 at 02:16 PM.
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    LopenUupunut -- Appreciate the detailed analysis of Finland athletics this season! I hope that some of your throwers will come through. On the track, I wonder if you could provide any more comments/discussion of the steeplers -- Keskisalo & Eriksson. I have looked at their marks on Tilastopaja & I have looked at the 2014 Euro lists. I know that Keskisalo's best marks -- pretty much across the board -- are from 2009, but I'm curious to know more about his comeback. I hope he can make the final, but there are many ahead of him on the Euro list. Eriksson looks like a real medal contender -- she is having her best season this year, steeple and flat. Could you say more about her, too, if you are so inclined? Thanks.
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