Silver medal for javelinist Pitkämäki

Yle’s sports department predicted that Finland’s first medal at the Athletics World Championships would come on Saturday evening -- and Tero Pitkämäki made that a reality with a second-place finish in the men's javelin.

Image: Lehtikuva / Jussi Nukari

Javelinist Tero Pitkämäki was Finland’s brightest hope for a medal at theAthletics World Championships in Moscow. The 2007 world champion started off the season well, but was then hampered by an injury. In recent weeks, though, Pitkämäki has been returning to form.

Though he has been an uneven performer at high-profile competitions, Pitkämäki held one of the longest personal best throws of any man in Saturday’s competition:91.53 metres, set back in 2005.

The 30-year-old’s best showing this season has been 87.60 metres, which is also the Finnish record for this year. Pitkämäki is now ranked third in the world.

On Thursday, he qualified for the 12-man final with his first throw of 84.39 metres. That was nearly two metres beyond the qualification minimum, and the best toss of the qualifying round. Fellow Finn Antti Ruuskanen's toss of 81.36 metres was also enough to earn him a berth in the final.

"Realistic chance" of another gold

According to Yle Sport’s Juho Talja, "Pitkämäki has a realistic chance of winning another world championship – a medal is certainly guaranteed."

In the final, Pitkämäki was fourth to throw after Stuart Farquhar (New Zealand, best qualifying throw 80.73m), Risto Mätas (Estonia, 80.18) and Ivan Zaitsev (Uzbekistan, 81.53).  Ruuskanen was seventh. Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen, who scored the second-best qualifying throw of 83.05m, threw tenth.

Czech athlete Vítězslav Veselý turned out to be Pitkämäki's biggest challenge, leading the way through the first five rounds of the competition. The Finn ended in second, just 10cm behind Veselý. The Czech's final score was 87.17m, followed by Pitkämäki at 87.07 and Russia's Dmitri Tarabin at 86.23m.

Ruuskanen finished in sixth place with a score of 81.44m.