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Monday, January 30, 2023

Neeraj Chopra clinches maiden Diamond League title

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 Reigning Olympic javelin throw champion Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian to win the Diamond League title after clinching the top spot in Lausanne leg.

One throw was all Chopra needed to win the men’s javelin on Friday, the Olympic champion and world silver medallist launched the spear 89.08m in the first round for a mark that couldn’t be beaten. He followed it with 85.18m before a pass, foul and another pass, before throwing 80.04m in the final round.

The win in Lausanne secured his place in the Diamond League final with 15 points from two events. Tokyo 2020 silver medallist and 2016 Diamond League champion Jakub Vadlejch, with 27 points from four events, topped the Diamond League qualification series.

The top six after the Lausanne leg qualify for Zurich Finals, will be held on September 7-8.

World No. 4 Julian Weber of Germany did not participate at Lausanne but made the final having accumulated 19 points from the previous three competitions. World champion Anderson Peters of Grenada was third with 16 points from two events.

USA’s Curtis Thompson and Patriks Gailums of Latvia were the remaining two javelin throwers who made the cut for the six-men final.

It was double delight for Chopra as he also qualified for the World Championships 2023, to be held in Budapest, Hungary after breaching the direct qualification mark 85.20m.

Chopra made an impressive return to competitive action after Tokyo 2020 in June this year. He broke the national record with an 89.30m throw to clinch the silver at Paavo Nurmi Games before claiming gold at the Kuortane Games with an 86.69m throw.

He then created history by winning India’s first silver medal at the world athletics championships and the first podium finish since long jumper Anju Bobby George won country’s maiden medal, a bronze, at Paris 2003.

Chopra, however, had to pull out of the Commonwealth Games due to a groin injury he suffered during his 88.13m throw that earned him the podium in Oregon. He was advised a month’s rest following the muscle strain.

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