Viivi Lehikoinen's Five new Finnish Record in the 400 meter Hurdles at the World Athletics Championships

Viivi Lehikoinen changed her step rhythm for the semi-final run and ran a new Finnish record. Expert Tuomas Raja considers a place in the final a suitable goal for the European Championships in Munich.

Viivi Lehikoinen's Five new Finnish Record in the 400 meter Hurdles at the World Athletics Championships
Viivi Lehikoinen Athletics Champion

Hurdler Viivi Lehikoinen, 22, ran a new Finnish record in the women's 400-meter hurdles at the World Athletics Championships. On Thursday in Oregon, Lehikoinen clocked a time of 54.60, with which She improved Tuija Helander's SE by two hundredths.

In the preliminaries, Lehikoinen ran a time of 54.95, so She improved the time of the semi-finals by 35 hundredths. Lehikoinen revealed in an interview with Yle that She changed her running rhythm in the semi-finals.

In her SE run, She switched from the usual 15-step rhythm to a 16-step rhythm.

In the heat, Lehikoinen ran the first four hurdles with a rhythm of 15 steps, but in the semifinal, he ran only three hurdles with 15 paces. He continued with 16 strides to the seventh fence and came in the final 17 strides in rhythm.

Lehikoinen made the decision together with her coach Laurent Meuwly. According to Aitur, changing the rhythm in the semi-final was a risk.

- I was of the opinion that I have mentally prepared for that rhythm, which was in the first round, so it might be a risk. It went really well. The purpose was to find that there are enough bangs to fight at the end. I think it went pretty well, Lehikoinen told Yle Urheilu.

Viivi Lehikoinen's five best results in the 400-meter hurdles

  • 54.60 (Oregon WC semi-final)
  • 54.80 (30.6.2022 Stockholm)
  • 54.95 (Oregon's WC preliminary round)
  • 55.13 (14.6.2022 Turku)
  • 55.33 (18.6.2022 Kuortane)

Yle Urheilu's expert Tuomas Raja thought both of Lehikoinen's runs were very good. She emphasized Lehikoinen's ability to adapt to changes.

- Viivi is also a skilled runner because She is able to make changes according to the situation and change the plan either in the middle of the race or a little unexpectedly just before the race. It is also a tough sign, Raja emphasizes.

Lehikoinen succeeded excellently in the toughest place of the season. The heat run was the third-best run of Lehikoinen's career. In the semi-final, the best of her career and a new Finnish record came.

- She was at his best in this environment. It means that Viiv has developed into an international-level athlete. It's a tough thing after all the difficult and fluctuating years, says Raja.

Training is done speed head first

Lehikoinen came into the public eye as a young super-promiser when she won gold at the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festivals. This was followed by the under-18 European Championship gold and the under-20 European Championship bronze.

However, the development of talented athletes declined after the Finnish under-19 record (56.49) run in the summer of 2017. Now she has risen again to top form under the coaching of the Swiss Laurent Meuwly. The duo's collaboration began at the end of 2020.

- When this new coach came along, the training was done at full speed in a different way than before. Delays have had good foundations, but now the emphasis on speed has brought more power to run. Speed ​​and power have been brought to the fore, says Raja.

The level of the semi-finals was tough, as 53.72 was required in the time comparison for the final competition. Ukraine's Anna Ryzhykova, who took second place in the first round, made it to the finals with a time of 54.51.

- Yes, this was the most difficult final qualifier of all time and in that sense, it is not easy to get to the final. Tuija Helander was two hundredths slower than the former Finnish record, fifth in the final race at the then world championships, Raja compares.

Lehikoinen was the sixth best among the Europeans who competed in the World Championships. She is ranked eighth among Europeans in this season's world statistics.

Raja sees that a place in the finals is a suitable goal for Lehikoinen for the European Championships in Munich, which will take place from 15 to 21. August.

- Of course, there are some good Nelonen paddlers who were not at the World Championships and will participate in the European Championships. In Munich, a good goal for Lehikoinen is a place in the final competition, says Raja.