Finland's home javelin thrower Oliver Helander earned a shock victory in Turku tonight over a field including India's Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra ©Getty Images

India's Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra opened his 2022 season in Turku tonight by improving his national record to 89.30 metres but still finished marginally behind the shock winner, home thrower Oliver Helander.

In a country whose athletics followers have long been obsessed with the javelin event, the achievement at the Paavo Nurmi Games of this 25-year-old who failed to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 final will reverberate hugely.

After his second-round effort of 89.83m had earned him a landmark win ahead of the World Athletics Championships, Helander - who is coached by Finland’s 2007 world champion Tero Pitkämäki - commented: "That was close to a perfect throw - I was feeling really good in warm-up."

Helander thus eclipsed his 2018 personal best of 88.02m.

While Chopra’s best effort, taken immediately after Helander’s, failed to secure him a win he clearly took much heart from finishing ahead of four men who have been making the running - or rather, throwing - so far this season.

Grenada’s world champion Anderson Peters, whose national record of 93.08m - which won a heady duel with Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic at the opening Diamond League meeting of the season in Doha - moved him to fifth on the all-time list, was third on 86.60m.

London 2012 champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago was fourth on 84.02m, with Germany’s Julian Weber fifth on the same distance, one place ahead of Vadlejch, whose best was 83.91m.

No wonder the 24-year-old from Khandra, who had begun his Olympic-winning season last year with his previous personal best of 88.07m, looked delighted by his season debut effort at the close of competition; and no wonder the home thrower looked equally thrilled.

Britain’s 20-year-old Max Burgin produced the performance of the night on the track as he won what was only his second men’s 800 metres of the season - after having had a year out with injury - in a personal best of 1min 43.52sec,

That was the fastest time run in the world this year, and the fastest recorded by a Briton since 1990, and only Sebastian Coe, Steve Cram and Peter Elliott have gone quicker.

Burgin held off the favourite, Tony van Diepen of The Netherlands, who also had a personal best in finishing second in 1:44.24, with Gabriel Tual of France third in 1:44.30.

"This was only my second race of this season," Burgin said.

"I am very confident now for the British Championships, and World Championships after that."

The latest World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting - taking place in sunny conditions - witnessed another field event shock in the men’s discus as Kristjan Čeh of Slovenia saw his unbeaten run of nine competitions come to an end.

Sweden’s world and Olympic champion Daniel Ståhl won with a season’s best of 70.62m with his opening effort.

The bespectacled 23-year-old has dominated the event this year, throwing a Diamond League and Slovenian record of 71.27m in Birmingham last month and backing that up with a meeting record of 70.72m at last week's Rome Diamond League event, but here he was third with 67.76m behind Stahl and Lithuania’s 2017 world champion Andrius Gudžius on 68.09m.

With the World Athletics Championships little more than a month away it was an important marker for the defending champion.

"I felt like I was jumping," Stahl said.

"My first throw was most rhythmic, and explosive.

"It was fun to do my victory lap after that."

Tobi Amusan set a season's best in Turku  in the 100m hurdles ©Getty Images
Tobi Amusan set a season's best in Turku  in the 100m hurdles ©Getty Images

Britany Anderson, the 21-year-old Jamaican who beat 100 metres hurdles world record-holder Kendra Harrison of the United States in the Olympic semi-finals but finished last in the final after hitting a hurdle, won her semi-final slowing down in 12.67sec and improved to 12.59 in the final.

But that was only enough for second place behind Nigeria’s Commonwealth Games champion Tobi Amusan, more recently African champion, who won in a season’s best of 12.57.

Jamaica's Shanieka Ricketts won the women’s triple jump with 14.35 metres.

Estonia’s 30-year-old Rasmus Mägi, a European 400 metres hurdles silver medallist in 2014, won in a personal best of 47.82sec.

Daryll Neita of Britain, eighth in the Tokyo 2020 women’s 100m final, followed up her semi-final win in 11.09 by earning victory in the final in 11.10 from her compatriot Imani-Lara Lansiquot, who clocked 11.36.

Australia's Tokyo 2020 women’s high jump silver medallist Nicola Olyslagers - née McDermott - won with an effort of 1.96 metres, with Elena Vallortigara of Italy and Ukraine’s Yuliya Levchenko second and third each on 1.94m.

Almir dos Santos of Brazil reached 16.90m to win a men’s triple jump featuring 31-year-old multiple world and Olympic champion Christian Taylor of the US, making a gradual recovery after the serious Achilles tendon injury he suffered last year.

After finishing sixth with 16.04m, Taylor commented: "I feel I’m completely healthy.

"The last year has been challenging both mentally and physically.

"This is my first time in Finland, and atmosphere was fantastic.

"I am strong again, and every competition is a chance for learning."