Ilkka Herola, Eero Hirvonen and Arttu Mäkiaho were the top athletes in the Finnish national summer championships held in Lahti on the past Saturday. Only 0.2 seconds divided the gold from the silver medal, Junior World Champion Mäkiaho took a clear third place, +41.9 seconds behind Herola. Atte Kettunen won the title in the U-18 category.
The jumping event had Hirvonen and Herola go head to head in a similar way. Eero Hirvonen jumped 123 metres (126.1 p.) on Lahti’s HS 130 large hill, while Herola had 122 m (125.3 p.) to show for. So it was only three seconds that divided Team Finland’s top athletes at the start of the roller-ski race, while third-ranked Arttu Mäkiaho had 31 seconds to make up already. Leevi Mutru started fourth, 50 seconds behind Hirvonen, while veteran Hannu Manninen was one minute and 28 seconds back after a jump of only 112.5 metres.
Manninen did not finish the roller-ski race, while the top duo duelled until the finish line. Mäkiaho had no problem holding Mutru off during the race but fastest skier Matti Herola came within five seconds of catching his younger teammate in the end. Matti Herola needed 21:38.9 for the 10 km.