Paavo Nurmi Games Event by Event Preview

Posted by: Watch Athletics

Throwing events will take center stage during the 2023 Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, which is part of the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series.

Men’s discus throw: 

The line-up features five throwers with a PB over the 70 metres barrier. World champion Kristjan Ceh from Slovenia will renew his rivalry against Olympic gold medallist Daniel Stahl from Sweden. 

Ceh won his first world gold medal in Eugene 2022 with 71.13m (one of his five throws over the 70 metres barrier in 2022) and won the Wanda Diamond League final in Zurich with 67.10m. The Slovenian thrower started the 2023 season with two Diamond League wins in Doha with 70.89m and Rabat with 70.32m. 

Stahl finished second to Ceh in Doha with 67.14m and in Rabat with 69.21m and improved his seasonal best to 70.93m in Sollentuna last Sunday. The Swedish thrower set the meeting record with 70.62m in 2022. He has a special relationship to Turku, as his grandmother Leila lives in the Finnish city.

Jamaica’s Fedrick Dacres also returns to Turku, where he won in 2019 with 66.74m in the best season of his career. Dacres went on to win the world silver medal in Doha later that year. The Jamaican thrower, who also won the Diamond League title in 2018, set a seasonal best of 68.57m in Tucson and finished third in Sollentuna with 65.87m last Sunday. 

The line-up also features Olympic and world bronze medallist Lukas Weisshaidinger, who recently improved his Austrian record to 70.68m in Schwechat on 19 May and finished second to Stahl in Sollentuna with 65.95m, Simon Petterson from Sweden, who won the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo behind his compatriot Stahl and set his lifetime best of 70.42m in Norkoeping, and Lithuania’s Andrius Gudzius, world champion in London 2017, world bronze medallist in Eugene 2022 and European gold medallist in Berlin 2018. 

Men’s javelin throw: 

Jakub Vadlejch leads the men’s javelin throw line-up with his seasonal best of 88.63m set at the Diamond League meeting in Doha last month. The Czech thrower is currently second on the world seasonal list. He won the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo 2021 and the world bronze medal in Eugene. 

Vadlejch will take on last year’s European champion Julian Weber, who set the third best performance in the world this year with 88.37m in Rehlingen and won at the Continental Tour meeting in Hengelo with 87.14m. 

The line-up also features 2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott from Trinidad and Tobago, who finished second with 83.56m in Hengelo, Oliver Helander from Finland, winner at last year’s edition of the Turku meeting with 89.83m and Timothy Herman from Belgium, who took a surprising win at the Continental Tour meeting in Nairobi with a national record of 87.35m. 

Women’s hammer throw: 

Brooke Andersen leads the line-up that includes the entire podium of the World Championships in Eugene. 

World gold medallist Andersen set a world leading mark of 80.17m in Tucson and won six of her seven competitions this year. Last week the US thrower won in Bydgoszcz with 78.79m and in Paris Charlety with 77.13m. 

Anderson will take on last year’s world silver medallist Camryn Rogers from Canada, who set the Commonwealth and Canadian record with 78.62m at the Los Angeles Grand Prix last May, and world bronze medallist Janee Kassanavoid, who won at the Continental Tour Gold meeting in Nairobi this year with 74.25m and set a seasonal best of 76.60m in Tucson. The best European athletes in the field are European bronze medallist Sara Fantini from Italy, who holds the national record with 75.77m and finished third in Paris last Friday behind Anderson and Kassanavoid, and last year’s European gold medallist Bianca Ghelber from Romania. 

Men’s pole vault: 

Olympic fourth placer KC Lightfoot is looking to continue his good period of form. Lightfoot broke Sam Kendrick’s North American record with 6.07m in Nashville and finished second to Ernest John Obiena’s on countback with 6.00m in Bergen last week. 

The US pole vaulter will take on five-time world medallist Piotr Lisek from Poland, who cleared 5.82m twice in Chorzow and Bydgoszcz this year, two-time Commonwealth Games champion Kurtis Marshall, who placed second to Armand Duplantis in Hengelo with a seasonal best of 5.81m, and Dutch indoor record holder Menno Vlonn, who cleared 5.81 in Hengelo and 5.76m in Bergen last week. 

Women’s pole vault: 

Wilma Murto from Finland carries the hopes of the home fans. Murto set the national record of 4.85m when she won the European outdoor gold medal in Munich last August. The Finnish vaulter won the European indoor gold medal with 4.80m in Istanbul and set her outdoor seasonal best of 4.61m in Paris last Friday. 

Murto will go head-to-head against Alysha Newman, Canadian record holder with 4.82m, Margot Chevrier from France, who finished second in Paris with 4.71m, and Olivia McTaggart from New Zealand, who finished sixth at the World Indoor Championships in Belgrade 2023 and set a PB of 4.71m in Auckland this year. 

Women’s high jump: 

Olympic silver medallist Nicola Olyslagers will be seeking her second consecutive win after clearing 2.00m for the first time this season in the Paris Diamond League last Friday. The Australian high jumper will face Iryna Gerashchenko from the Ukraine, fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo with 1.98m and at the World Championships, and Morgan Lake from Great Britain, who set the national indoor record with 1.99m in Hustopece. Gerashchenko and Lake both cleared 1.94m in Paris last week. 

Women’s triple jump: 

Shanieka Ricketts from Jamaica leads the line-up in the women’s triple jump with her seasonal best of 14.53m set at the Diamond League in Rabat. Ricketts won the world silver medal in Doha and the Diamond League title in Zurich in 2019 and the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Kingston in Birmingham 2022 with 14.94m. 

Ricketts will take on her compatriot Kimberly Williams, two-time Commonwealth Games gold medallist in 2014 and 2018 and second at the World Indoor Championships in 2018, Tugba Denismaz from Turkey, European Indoor champion on home soil in Istanbul last March, Finnish triple jumpers Kristina Makela, European silver medallist in Munich 2022 with 14.64m, and Senni Salminen, who won at the Turku meeting with 14.51 in 2021. 

Women’s 100 metres hurdles: 

This year’s European Indoor champion Reetta Hurske from Finland leads a strong line-up that features most of the European specialists. Hurske set the national indoor record of 7.79 in the 60 metres hurdles in Madrid and at the European Indoor Championships in Istanbul. She started her outdoor season with 12.80 in Savona before setting the Finnish record in Jyvaskyla with 12.70 in the 100 metres hurdles. Hurske will face last year’s European outdoor champion Pia Skryszowska from Poland, who will start her season after recovering from an injury that she sustained when she clocked 7.79 in the 60 metres hurdles in Torun last February. The line-up also features Nadine Visser from the Netherlands, who won the European Indoor silver medal in Istanbul in 7.84 and clocked a seasonal best of 12.71 in Hengelo this year, Ditaji Kambundji from Switzerland, European outdoor and indoor bronze medallist and third in Hengelo in 12.78, Ireland’s Sarah Lavin, world indoor finalist, and Denmark’s Mette Graversgaard, who finished fourth at the European Indoor Championships in 7.92 and set the national record in Savona with 12.83. 

Men’s 110 metres hurdles: 

USA’s Jamal Britt leads the men’s 110 metres hurdles line-up with his seasonal best of 13.14. Britt finished fourth at last year’s US Championships in Eugene in 13.09 and finished second at the NACAC Championships in Freeport in 13.08. Britt will take on his compatriot Eric Edwards, who set a seasonal best of 13.29 in Hengelo, and Rafael Pereira, who set the South American record of 13.17 in Gainesville. 

Men’s 400 metres hurdles: 

USA’s Khalifah Rosser and France’s Ludvy Vaillant hold the fastest time among the entrants with the same seasonal best of 48.60. Rosser finished fifth at the World Championships in 47.88 and dipped under the 48 seconds barrier five times last year. The line-up features Kyron McMaster from British Virgin Island, who finished fourth at the Olympic Games in a national record of 47.08 and won two Diamond League titles in 2017 and 2018, Thomas Barr from Ireland, bronze medallist at the 2018 European Championships in Berlin, and Abdelmalik Lahoulou from Algeria, who set a national record of 48.39 in the semifinal of the World Championships in Doha 2019. 

Men’s 100 metres: 

US sprinter Cravont Charleston holds the fastest time among the entrants with his PB of 9.91 in Los Angeles. Charleston will face Reece Prescod, who won in Savona in a wind-assisted 9.94 and Hengelo in 9.99, Benjamin Azamati from Ghana, who holds a national record of 9.90 in Austin last year, Rohan Browning, Australian champion with 10.02 this year, and Japan’s Abdul Sani Brown, seventh in the World Championships final in Eugene. 

Women’s 800 metres: 

Australia’s Catriona Bisset holds the fastest time in the field with her seasonal best of 1:58.32 set in Brisbane. Bisset will run against 2019 world champion Halimah Nakaayi from Uganda and Olympic fourth placer Jemma Reekie from Great Britain, who won in Chorzow in 1:58.94 this year. 

Men’s 800 metres: 

Olympic silver medallist Ferguson Rotich from Kenya holds the fastest time among the entrants with his PB of 1:42.54. The Kenyan athlete will run against 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Clayton Murphy, who won the 800m in 1:44.75 in Los Angeles, European indoor medallist Benjamin Robert, who clocked 1:43.48 in Paris last Friday, and European indoor finalist Catalin Tecuceanu from Italy, who started his season with 1:46.76 in Rabat, 

Women’s 400 metres hurdles: 

Jamaica’s Shiann Salmon heads the field with her seasonal best of 54.42 set at the Diamond League meeting in Rabat. Salmon will face USA’s Cassandra Tate, world bronze medallist in Beijing 2015 and Diamond League winner in 2018, Viivi Lehikonen, who clocked 54.40 in Huelva and 54.95 in Geneva this year, Laviai Nielsen from Great Britain, who won the 400m in Savona in 51.60 and clocked 51.43 in Geneva over the flat distance this year. 

Men’s 3000 steeplechase:

Abraham Sene from Ethiopia leads the field with his PB of 8:10.73 set in Paris during the world record race of his compatriot Lamecha Girma. The line-up also features Lawrence Kemboi from Kenya and last year’s European champion Topi Raitanen from Finland, who holds a PB of 8:16.57 and a seasonal best of 8:22.00. 

Women’s 1500 metres: 

Kenya’s Edina Jebitok is chasing her second consecutive win after taking the victory over the mile distance in 4:22.85 in Bydgoszcz. Jebitok will face Sarah Healy from Ireland and Ellie Baker, who both dipped under 4:05 this year, European cross country mixed relay champions Gaia Sabbatini, who set the second fastest Italian time in history with 4:01.93, and Federica Del Buono, who set the second fastest time in her career with 4:05.09 at the Golden Gala in Florence. 

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