Neeraj Chopra returns to action with Diamond League title

Olympic champion and World Championships silver medallist Neeraj Chopra returned to competition in style by winning the Lausanne Diamond League. He also sealed his spot in the Diamond League final to be held in Zurich in the first week of September. Friday was the first time Chopra finished first in a Diamond League event and he will now get a chance to be a Diamond League champion in the javelin throw.

Chopra’s first attempt of 89.09 metres, his third-best throw ever, earned him 8 points for finishing first. In total, Chopra – who participated in two Diamond Leagues (four events had the javelin throw) – stayed in fourth place with 15 points. The top six athletes qualify for the final.

Chopra’s second attempt was 85.18 metres after which he fouled his third, fourth and fifth attempts. In his final throw, Chopra produced 80.04 metres.

But by then, he had sealed his spot in the finals.

Chopra has been targeting the 90-metre mark and it could be just a matter of time before he achieves the target. The final in Zurich will provide him one last opportunity this year after which he will likely end his season.

Chopra had skipped the Commonwealth Games after suffering a groin strain in his fourth throw at the World Championships.

But his opening throw in Lausanne showed that he was close to his best on return. Chopra’s national record stands at 89.94 metres which he registered at the Stockholm Diamond League. The Diamond League events have no medals and athletes are given points based on where they finish.

Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, who was leading the points table with 20 before Lausanne, didn’t have a great outing. His best throw on the day was 84.56 metres. Germany’s Julian Webber, second on the points table, skipped the event and defending World Champion Anderson Peters is out of the season after being assaulted on a boat and suffering injuries.

After winning the silver at the World Championships, Chopra had spoken about the Diamond League title being the one he wants to add to his CV, which also includes gold medals at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games in 2018.

The Stockholm event in June was Chopra’s first Diamond League competition in nearly four years. The Olympic Champion finished second to world champion Anderson Peters then. It was the first time he had finished in the top three in a Diamond League event.

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