- Neeraj Chopra bagged his first-ever medal at the eminent Stockholm Diamond League on Thursday with a gigantic throw of 89.94m.
- Neeraj finished third at the event and set a new national record in the process
- Chopra, 24, missed the 90m mark by a whisker.
Neeraj Chopra, the Olympic gold medalist, finished in the top three at the prestigious Diamond League Meeting on Thursday but just missed the 90-meter mark in front of a crowded field. The 89.94-meter opening throw by Chopra, the second-place finisher, was breathtaking and was merely 6 cm short of the 90-meter mark, the javelin throw’s gold standard.
His other throws included lengths of 84,37, 87,46, 84,77, 86,67, and 86,84 metres. He broke his previous national mark of 89.30m, which he had achieved on June 14 in Turku, Finland, during the Paavo Nurmi Games, where he came in second.
Anderson Peters of Grenada, the reigning world champion and leader of the season, won the event with a best throw of 90.31 metres, which he produced on his third try.
"I thought I could throw 90m today, but slow improvement is good!"@neeraj_chopra1 was happy with his Indian record at #StockholmDL— Wanda Diamond League (@Diamond_League) June 30, 2022
🇮🇳 #DiamondLeague pic.twitter.com/O3jJgmCJ2n
Neeraj mentioned that even though he thought he could throw beyond 90m, he was content that he put his foot forward and would have more opportunities in the offing.
Peters won the Diamond League leg in Doha last month, by throwing 93.07 metres. The following month, he threw 90.75 metres in Hengelo, the Netherlands.
With a fifth-round throw of 89.08 metres, German competitor Julian Weber came in third. The Olympic silver medalist from Tokyo Jakub Vadlejch (88.59 metres) came in fourth.
Vitezslav Vesely, a third Czech athlete and bronze medalist in the Tokyo Olympics, finished seventh in the eight-man competition with 82.57m.
What a competition in the men's javelin.— Wanda Diamond League (@Diamond_League) June 30, 2022
A meeting record of 90.31 sees @peters_oly claim his 2nd win of the season…
…but it's an Indian record of 89.94 for runner-up @Neeraj_chopra1!#StockholmDL #DiamondLeague
📷 @matthewquine pic.twitter.com/OD5VDeKOBi
In Turku, where the Grenada-born athlete finished third, and at the Kuortane Games, also in Finalnd, where the Indian superstar won gold with a best throw of 86.69m in slick and rainy circumstances, Chopra defeated Peters both times this month.
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With his opening throw, Chopra gave fans optimism that he would make history by being the first Indian to triumph in a Diamond League competition. Nevertheless, he followed discus thrower Vikas Gowda as the second Indian to place in the top three of a Diamond League tournament.
Gowda, a gold medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games who retired in 2017, achieved four career top-three finishes in Diamond League competitions. In New York in 2012, Doha in 2014, and Shanghai and Eugene in 2015, he had placed second and third, respectively.
Following his fourth-place performance in Zurich in August of last year, Chopra was competing in the Diamond League for the first time in four years. Seven Diamond League meets—three in 2017 and four in 2018—have seen him compete.
Chopra’s largest competition before the World Championships, which will take place in Eugene, Oregon, from July 15–24, is a famous one-day meet in the Swedish capital. The javelin throw will be part of the schedule for the next Diamond League Meeting on August 10 in Monaco.
It is unknown if Chopra will participate, since it will take place just a few days after the Birmingham CWG (July 28 to August 8), where he will be defending his championship. Johannes Vetter of Germany, who was among the active throwers with the most throws of 90+, remained on the sidelines. He is not in peak physical condition and also missed the German nationals.