Ruuskanen carries Zurich form to Stockholm

Antti Ruuskanen
Getty Images

Gold medallist Antti Ruuskanen of Finland competes in the men's javelin final during day six of the 22nd European Athletics Championships at Letzigrund stadium.

It can be one of the toughest events of the summer - the first athletics meeting after the showpiece event of the year.

But in Stockholm on Thursday, Finland’s Antti Ruuskanen looked to the Swedish evening sky and launched one of the best javelin throws of 2014.

Ruuskanen, 30, is having the best spell of his career and he followed up his gold medal at the European Athletics Championships in Zurich with another brilliant performance.

In the second round of the IAAF Diamond League meeting, Ruuskanen recorded a distance of 87.24m. It was just short of the European lead of 88.01m which brought him glory last week, and it was easily enough to register another fine win.

He had begun with 83.76m but after round one found himself in third place as Germany’s Thomas Rohler led with 85.12m ahead of Egypt’s Ihab Abdelrahman with 84.58m.

But a champion is not a champion for no reason and with his next throw Ruuskanen brought the competition to an end. In round three he reached 84.56m and did not have another go after that.

Peaking for the big championships is the key to any season but Ruuskanen maintained that level of form in some style. His winning effort was the third best in Europe this year.

It has been a long road for Ruuskanen to be announced to the crowd as “the champion” having made the podium for the first time in a major event 11 years ago when he won bronze at the European Athletics Junior Championships in Tampere in 2003.

He took silver at the European Athletics U23 Championships in Erfut in 2005 and then seven years later, he was the bronze medallist at the Olympic Games in London.

Ruuskanen was one of three Zurich winners to triumph in Stockholm with Poland’s Adam Kszczot taking the 800m in fine style and once more, as he did in Zurich, beating his fellow countryman Marcin Lewandowski.

Kszczot triumphed in 1:45.25 from Ayanleh Souleiman, of Djibouti, in 1:45.49 with Lewandowski - who was fifth at the championships - third this time in 1:45.76.

After her stunning win in Zurich when she threw a national record of 71.08m, Croatia’s Sandra Perkovic moved even further clear in the discus Diamond Race with 66.74m to beat Australia’s Dani Samuels with 65.70m and Gia Lewis-Smallwood, of the USA, with 65.21m.

But there was disappointment for French pole vaulter Renaud Lavillenie, fresh from his gold-medal success. He was one of five men who failed to land a mark and lost for the first time in 22 events as Greece's Konstantinos Filippidis won with 5.60m.

In the 1500m, Zurich champion Sifan Hassan, of the Netherlands, was third in 4:01.62 as American Jennifer Simpson won in 4:00.38 from Genzebe Dibaba, of Ethiopia, in 4:01.00.