Diamond League: Neeraj Chopra eyes podium finish
Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra is primed to clinch his maiden Diamond League podium finish in his first appearance in four years in the prestigious one-day meet here on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Neeraj came second in the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, with a national record throw of 89.30m before winning his event at the Kuortane Games with a 86.60m effort under treacherous conditions.
Both events in Finland had strong fields, though the Turku line-up had more stars than at Kuortane, where Neeraj slipped after an awkward release of his spear in his third attempt. Luckily, he was up on his feet immediately and won the event without any injury.
“We started training in December, so it was a bit late. I needed to get fit again as my weight had also increased after the Tokyo Games,” Neeraj said during a pre-event press conference.
“I had gained 13kg-14kg, so the plan was to get fit again and hence we started the season a bit late. Our main target this year are the World Championship and Commonwealth Games as the Asian Games has been postponed,” he added.
This will be Neeraj’s first Diamond League after his fourth-place finish in Zurich in August 2018 with an effort of 85.73m. He has taken part in seven Diamond League meets, but has yet to win a medal.
The one-day meet at the Swedish capital will be Neeraj’s biggest event ahead of the World Championships in Eugene, US, next month.
He will also be facing the Tokyo Olympics medallists. Germany’s Johannes Vetter, who has the maximum number of 90-plus throws among the active throwers, however continues to be on the sidelines.
Live on Sports 18, 11.30 pm onwards.