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Neeraj Chopra finishes second in Doha Diamond League

Source: PTI
Last updated on: May 11, 2024 00:42 IST
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IMAGE: Neeraj Chopra fell just two centimetres short of Jakub Vadlejch's winning effort. Photograph: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

Olympic and world champion Neeraj Chopra finished second at the Doha Diamond League meet javelin throw event as his big final effort of 88.36m fell short by two centimetres of Jakub Vadlejch's winning effort in Doha on Friday.

The 26-year-old Chopra trailed Czech Republic veteran Vadlejch -- who won the title with his third round throw of 88.38m --  all throughout the competition.


Chopra made a last ditch effort but his final round throw fell 2cm short of Vadlejch's mark as the Indian superstar failed to defend the title he had won last year.

Two-time world champion Anderson Peters took the third sport with a best throw of 86.62m.

Kishore Jena's Diamond League debut ended in disappointment as he was eliminated after three rounds of throws, with 76.31m being his best. He began with a 75.72m, then fouled his second effort, before coming up with 76.31m to finish at ninth after three throws each by all the 10 competitors.

The 28-year-old Jena has a personal best of 87.54m, a performance that fetched him a silver medal in the Hangzhou Asian Games last year, but it was not his day on Friday.

Vadlejch had won a silver in the Tokyo Olympics and a bronze in the 2023 World Championships, the two events in which Chopra had won gold.

Chopra had won the 2023 Doha Diamond League with a throw of 88.67m, ahead of Vadlejch (88.63) and Peters (85.88m).

Chopra, competing in his first event of the season, struggled to have a big throw till his final effort, which is ranked ninth best of his career, but that was not enough for the title as the 33-year-old Vadlejch hung on to emerge victorious.

Chopra opened with a foul but his 84.93 second round throw saw him occupy the second place behind Vadlejch. The Indian improved to 86.24m -- his second best of the day -- in the third round but Vadlejch consolidated his top position with a throw of 88.38m.

Chopra produced 86.18m and 82.28m in the next two rounds before his final throw of 88.38m.

The Qatar Sports Club Stadium was known for athletes producing big throws but it was not to be on Friday as tailwind was absent.

Chopra has won three individual legs of Diamond League and lifted the champion's trophy in 2022.

After this event, Chopra will compete at home for the first time in three years during the National Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships to be held in Bhubaneswar from May 12 to 15.

Jena will also be taking part in the event. As per the schedule, the men's javelin qualifying round will be held on May 14 and the final will take place on May 15.

Chopra last took part in a domestic competition at the same Federation Cup on March 17, 2021, when he won a gold with a throw of 87.80m.

After taking part in the domestic event, Chopra will compete in the prestigious Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland on June 18.

The next Diamond League meeting which has men's javelin as a discipline will be held in Paris on July 7.

At each DL meeting, athletes are awarded 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 points for ranking first to eighth respectively. The top six javelin throwers will compete in the Diamond League Finals in Brussels on September 13-14 and the winner will lift the DL champion's trophy.

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