Diamond League: Neeraj Chopra second in Stockholm
Tokyo Olympic Games javelin champion Neeraj Chopra clinched his first top-three finish at the prestigious Diamond League Meeting with a national record-shattering effort but missed the 90m mark by a whisker here on Thursday.
The 24-year-old opened with a stunning throw of 89.94m and that effort eventually turned out to be his best. His other throws measured 84.37m, 87.46m, 84.77m, 86.67 and 86.84m.
He bettered his earlier national record of 89.30m, which his spear had travelled while finishing second in the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, on June 14.
World champion and season leader Anderson Peters of Grenada won the competition with a best throw of 90.31m.
Julian Weber of Germany was third with a fifth round throw of 89.08m while Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch (88.59m) of Czech Republic was fourth.
Another Czech athlete and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Vitezslav Vesely was seventh in the eight-man field with 82.57m.
Neeraj’s first throw had raised hopes of him becoming the first Indian to win a Diamond League event. Nonetheless, he became the second Indian to finish in top-three in a Diamond League competition after discus thrower Vikas Gowda.
Neeraj will headline a 22-member athletics team at the World Championships to be held in Eugene, US, from July 15 to 24. The selected team includes 17 men and five women athletes.
Besides Neeraj, Rohit Yadav is the other javelin thrower in the team. Avinash Sable (3000m steeplechaser), shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor and long jumpers Murali Sreeshankar and Muhammed Anees Yahiya are among the ones who will represent India.