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Chopra misses bronze by a whisker in Diamond League Final

Source: PTI
August 31, 2018 13:26 IST
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Neeraj Chopra in action

IMAGE: India's Neeraj Chopra. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images for IAAF

Newly-crowned Asian Games champion Neeraj Chopra produced yet another impressive performance but missed the bronze medal by a whisker, finishing fourth in the prestigious Diamond League Final in Zurich on Thursday.


The 20-year-old Indian, who was competing in the season's Diamond League Series Finale just three days after winning Asian Games gold in Jakarta, sent the spear to a best distance of 85.73m to end at fourth position in the eight-man event.

Chopra, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist, was at the third position till the fifth and penultimate round but the reigning Olympic champion Thomas Rohler of Germany came up with a 85.76m effort in his last attempt to pip the Indian by a mere 0.03 meter.

The star Indian could not repeat his national record shattering throw of 88.06m in Jakarta but his effort here earned him US$6000 besides the enormous amount of experience he got by rubbing shoulders with the best in the business.

Meanwhile, a third-round monster throw of 91.44m from Germany's Andreas Hofmann earned him his first big international javelin prize as he claimed one of the 16 Diamond Trophies on offer in the first of the Diamond League Finals in Zurich.

The second Final will be held in Brussels on Friday which will see competition in another 16 sets of events.

In the absence of world champion Johannes Vetter (who pulled out of the event), Rohler was the favourite to win the gold here but Hoffman, Germany's 'Third Man' (after Vettel and Roeler), upstaged his more illustrious compatriot to win gold.

Roehler had beaten Hofmann to the European title in Berlin earlier this season.

Estonia's Magnus Kirt took second place with 87.57m.

Chopra had qualified for the Final as sixth best in terms of points. He took part in three Diamond League Series legs. He finished fourth in Doha, sixth in Eugene and fifth in Rabat. He missed the Birmingham leg on August 18 due to the Asian Games.

The points were accumulated over the 14-leg Diamond League Series in a season. The top eight finishers in each leg a gets prize money. The eight-place finisher gets US$1000 while the winner pockets US$10,000.

Chopra will compete in the IAAF Continental Cup in Ostrava, Czech Republic from September 8 to 9 as a member of the Asia Pacific team before winding up the international season.

Top two athletes from four regions -- Europe, Americas, Africa and Asia-Pacific -- compete in the prestigious Continental Cup and Chopra will pair with Taipei's Cheng Chao-Tsun, who is the only Asian to have 90m-plus throw.

Cheng, however, has been struggling this season as he was carrying a minor shoulder injury and he finished fifth in the Asian Games while Chopra won the gold.

Mohammed Anas (men's 400m), Jinson Johnson (men's 8800m), Arpinder Singh (men's triple jump), Hima Das (women's 400m), P U Chitra (women's 1500m) and Sudha Singh (women's 3000m steeplechase) are the other Indian taking part in the Continental Cup.

Supreme Lyles takes Diamond League 200m title

American Noah Lyles backed up all the talk as he turned on the after-burners to win the Diamond League 200metres final impressively in Zurich on Thursday and scoop the $50,000 prize.

In the first of two finals nights, the biggest athletics event of this “fallow year”, Lyles started favourite having won all four previous Diamond League races over the distance this season.

As usual he had ground to make up after a less-than-blistering start but, also as usual, he had no trouble doing it as he catapulted off the bend to suddenly open a two-metre gap, which he maintained to the line, winning in 19.67 seconds.

Turkey’s world and European champion Ramil Guliyev was second in 19.98 – the fifth time he has finished behind Lyles this season - while Jereem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago was third in 20.04.

Athletics has been crying out for characters to fill the void created by the retirement of Usain Bolt and the confident 21-year-old is certainly playing his part on and off the track.

"I came here to go for the win and I did it," said Lyles.

"I was reasonable out of the blocks but I want to go better with my training."

Murielle Ahoure, who started the season by winning the world indoor 60m title, ended it with victory in the 100m as she held on after a fast start to triumph in 11.01 seconds.

Britain’s European champion Dina Asher-Smith was second in 11.08 ahead of another Ivorian, Marie-Josee Ta Lou (11.10)

Each winner took home $50,000

In probably the most predictable result of the night South Africa’s Caster Semenya took the 800m in one minute, 55.27 seconds having hit the bell 15 metres clear, to take the Diamond League title for the third successive season while American Dalilah Muhammad made it two in a row in the 400m hurdles in 53.88.

There was another successful defence in the men’s 1500m as Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot clocked a lively 3:30.27 as he got the best of a last-lap battle with compatriot Elijah Manangoi.

Another Kenyan, world and Olympic champion Conseslus Kipruto, won a brilliant men’s 3,000 steeplechase, overcoming the loss of a shoe on the second lap to overhaul Soufiane El Bakkali on the line, while American Fred Kerley won the men’s 400m in 44.80 after Steven Gardiner pulled up injured in the home straight.

Sifan Hassan's hopes of a remarkable double disappeared as she was out-kicked by Kenya's Hellen Obiri who produced a devastating last 300m to win the women's 5,000m in 14:38.39.

Hassan of the Netherlands will hope to make amends over 1,500m in Brussels on Friday.

The highlight of the field events came in the shot put where New Zealand’s world champion Tom Walsh threw 22.60m to break the Diamond League record and the 30-year-old meeting record of 22.42 of American Randy Barnes.

Mariya Lasitskene rounded off an impressive season to successfully defend her high jump title with a leap of 1.97 metres.

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