Lapinlahti FIN 16Jul06

Mokoena long jumps to 8.39m South African in Lapinlahti
Sunday 16 July 2006
Lapinlahti, Finalnd - Godfrey “Khotso” Mokoena of South Africa jumped a national record of 8.39 metres, and there were a scattering of other world class results at the fifth meeting of the Finnish Federation’s annual Elite Games series - EAA Permit - on Sunday (16), with good victories for global medallists, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, Shingo Suetsugu, and Rachel Boone-Smith.

Mokoena has sights on Helsinki improvement

Ville Tiisanoja sets his SB 20.54m in Lapinlahti
(Paula Noronen)

The Mondo Arena in Lapinlahti is known as perhaps the fastest track in Finland, and that’s what the Long jumpers like. Tommi Evilä, the 2005 World bronze medallist had to let go of his Arena Record 8.27m (w) from last year after Mokoena’s second attempt.

As the tail wind which helped Mokoena was only 1.7 m/s, his 8.39m which took that arena best is a new South African Record. The previous one was Mokoena´s 8.37m from Johannesburg April 2005.

"I am really glad with the South African record. It is great to compete against Tommi Evilä in Finland. The crowd is always with us and atmosphere is great. Today also the weather and track were perfect, so I gave all I had to the competition,” said Mokoena.

Antti Ruuskanen of Finland wns the men’s Javelin Throw with a solid 81.35m
(Paula Noronen)

Mokoena has been seen as a huge talent for some years. He won the Triple Jump and took the silver in the Long Jump at the World Junior Championships in 2004. He made his breakthrough into the international senior level last year and placed 7th in the Helsinki World Championships.

"I really look forward to Helsinki Grand Prix – IAAF World Athletics Tour - meeting on 26 July, and aim to move my PB-mark further little by little,” confirmed Mokoena.

Evilä, who has suffered from a “jumper´s knee” injury during the winter opened with a 7.86 leap - only two centimetres behind Mokoena, but found no answer to the big one. Mokoena secured his victory with his 8.02 in the 4th round but passed his attempts 3, 5 and 6.

Evilä showed once again that he’s a fighter, improving to 7.98 on his last attempt, a warning signal to his rivals at the European Championships in Gothenburg (August 7 - 14). Time is not on Evilä´s side, but he will likely approach the 8m level soon, hopefully at the Finnish Championships “Kalevan Kisat” in Jyväskylä next weekend.

“My minimum aim of today was the European’s Entry Standard of 7.95m and I made it. So I can be quite satisfied - but only quite. I am in a right way now (in terms of fitness) and confident for much better results in the rest of this season”, said Evilä.

Mulaudzi kicks to 1:44.99 win

The 800m saw first place also go to South Africa, as Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, Olympic silver medallist found no difficulties in beating Canada´s Achraf Tadili with a finishing kick. Mulaudzi, a 5-time-medallist at major international championships clocked 1.44.99 and Tadili 1.45.23 - only 0.08 seconds from his PB.

Suetsugu and Boone-Smith victors too

The sunny and quite warm (+20 C) day was a very good for Japanese runners too. Shingo Suetsugu of Japan, the 2003 World Championship bronze medallist dashed round the bend to 20.69 to win the 200m.

His compatriot Masako Naito ran 13.65 in the 110m Hurdles. Both Japanese victories were taken into a slight head wind.

"I am not satisfied with my performance today. The temperature was quite high and headwind certainly did not help me. The race was still good and I am glad to have won,” claimed Suetsugu after beating two good Americans, Jordan Vaden and Bernard Williams, the Olympic silver medallist.

Rachel Boone-Smith, the World silver medallist in the 200m in Helsinki last year, was a clear winner in the women’s 100m, with 11.38 despite of a -1.9 m/s wind.

Ikeda, another Japanese winner

Kumiko Ikeda opened the women’s Long Jump competition with a 6.62m leap and it was enough to see off the other jumpers. Natalia Kilpeläinen of Finland was next with 6.29m.

Ronetta Smith of Jamaica ran 52.52 to win the women’s 400m, with Grazyna Prokopek of Poland and Kirsi Mykkänen of Finland both under 53 seconds.

Yevhenija Snihur of Ukraine was the fastest at the women’s 100m Hurdles - 13.07 seconds. Maybe she was at a sub-13 second speed but the wind was -1.1 m/s.

Tiisanoja puts 20.54m

Only one man had enough energy for 20m plus attempts in the men’s Shot. He was World finalist Ville Tiisanoja, who set his SB 20.54m in the 4th round and can now be quite sure about reaching the Finnish Team for Gothenburg.

Tiisanoja, who had a back operation last Autumn and some disc problems in June too, also put 20.33 and 20.18 in his series, as Conny Karlsson also of Finland, placed second with only 19.56. Jeff Chakouian of the USA was third, 16 cm behind Karlsson.

“I have left my back problems behind and today I found technically quite a good form in 2 -3 puts, but this is only a basic level from which I must go further before Gothenburg”, said Tiisanoja.

Spectators were waiting for the 2000 Olympic Champion Arsi Harju to open his season, but that did not happened. Harju is now between a rock and a hard place. He must throw very well at the Finnish Champs – certainly over 20 metres to make the Finnish squad for the Europeans which already has four putters qualified.

People saw one new Finnish Record, as 18-year old Minna Nikkanen cleared 4.17m in the women’s Pole Vault. Nikkanen improved her previous national record which she jumped earlier this summer, by one cm, but she had already produced 4.21 in her last indoor season.

“I made good attempts for 4.25, as well, and I think I can vault about 4.30 in this summer”, smiled Nikkanen, who is one of the biggest Finnish hopes for the World Junior Championships in Beijing in August.

Antti Ruuskanen of Finland won the men’s Javelin Throw with a solid 81.35m and threw 80.28m in the last round. Korean record holder (83.99 - 2004) Park Jae-Myong took second place with 79.55m. Korean throwers are having a competing and training tour in Finland, under the direction of their Finnish head coach Esa Utriainen.

Osku Torro´s winning result of 2.25m in the men’s High Jump means that Finland will send three men in that event to Gothenburg. Heikki Taneli, who cleared 2.26 4 days earlier, could only jump 2.22m, this time. Finland’s most experience jumper Oskari Frösen, a finalist at last year’s World Championships, did not take part, but has already cleared 2.28 this season.

Antti-Pekka Sonninen for the IAAF