Thursday, December 08, 2022

Diamond League: Neeraj Chopra rewrites national record

Neeraj Chopra’s quest to break the 90m mark remained unfinished, but the 24-year-old javelin thrower came within six centimeters when he broke the national record for the second time in a month in Stockholm with an opening throw of 89.94m. Diamond League.

Olympic champion finished second only to world champion Anderson Peters, but in addition to the national record, Chopra would also be pleased with the result in Stockholm as it was the first time he finished in the top three in a Diamond League event. In her first season at the Pavo Nurmi Games, Chopra rewrote her own record with 89.30m. Chopra also had a meet record of 89.94m, before Peters improved it to 90.31m in the third round.

It was a distinctive start from Chopra at Stockholm’s Olympic Stadium – smooth and an easy release on the runway, a big drop past the scratch line and then a raised hand after watching the javelin land. Chopra was ahead of the eight-man field in the first two rounds. However, Peters, who has had an up and down phase, threw his third 90m of the season in the third round, which Chopra could not get better.

Chopra’s series of throws on Thursday night proved he is in good form with the javelin event at the World Championships in Oregon just three weeks away. After breaking his national record he produced 84.37, 87.46, 84.77, 86.67 and 86.84 metres.

Chopra now has three events ahead of the World Championships. In Stockholm, he showed no signs of discomfort from a slip on the runway at his previous event – the Kuorten Games. In slippery conditions, Chopra won the gold with a throw of 86.69 at Cuortaine. He won with pain after slip but looked to be in good shape in Stockholm.

Germany’s Julian Weber finished third with a throw of 89.08m. The other two podium finishers at the Tokyo Olympics are Jakob Vadlage and Viteslav Vesli of the Czech Republic, who finished fourth and seventh respectively.

Another challenger to Chopra, Finland’s Oliver Helander, who had better than him at the Paavo Nurmi Games, had only one legal throw of 85.46m after which he fouled in the next two.

On the eve of his first Diamond League competition in nearly four years, Chopra had said that the World Championships, the Commonwealth Games and the Diamond League were his big goals. Chopra is currently fourth in the Diamond League race after scoring seven points for her second place. They have Monaco and Lausanne ahead of the final in Zurich in September.

The athlete with the most points at the end of the Diamond League cycle held at 12 different venues – in the men’s javelin four – and the final in Zurich receives a Diamond Trophy and $40,000. But above all, the Diamond League champion gets the right to claim the most consistent athlete.

Chopra had participated in seven Diamond League events prior to Stockholm, but did not find a place in the top three. He qualified twice for the final and 7th (83.30m) in 2017 and fourth (85.87m) a year later.

Talking about crossing the 90m mark ahead of his season opener in Turku, Chopra had said: “I want to do my best. Overall the competition in the world is improving. But it all depends on the day. What kind of weather and conditions the thrower manages with is important because it has an impact. I also aim to achieve it (90m) in one of the competitions. I will leave no stone unturned.”

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