Finland's performance at the World Athletics Championships has lacked any medals so far, but javelinist Tero Pitkämäki could put that right on Saturday. He qualified for the final with a first throw of 55.97 metres, his second best throw of the season.
The 2007 world champion has been in indifferent form in a season hampered by injuries, but had no problem clearing the 83-metre qualifying standard--despite a problem with a trusty javelin that had served him well for 17 years.
That failed an inspection by championship organisers on Wednesday, forcing the Finnish team to scramble to find a new tool for their star performer. Inspectors apparently suspected the dimensions of the tried and tested implement broke competition rules. After several requests, the javelin passed a second inspection and Pitkämäki was able to use it in the competition.
That's probably just as well, as a strong field put in the best-ever performance in a world championship qualifying round.
German thrower Johannes Vetter set a new qualifying record by throwing 91.20 metres with his first throw, beating Jan Zelezny's 90.76 metres in the 2001 Edmonton championships.
Australia's Hamish Peacock took the unwanted record of the longest-ever throw not to secure a place in the final, recording 82.46 metres—short of the 83 metre automatic qualification threshold, and not among the best 12 throws of the qualification round.
Pitkämäki goes for gold on Saturday evening with the javelin final starting at 22:15 Finnish time. Viewers in Finland can watch via the Yle Areena service.