Sun. May 26th, 2024

Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra began his season at the Diamond League in Doha, securing a remarkable second place. The reigning Diamond League Trophy holder, Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic, clinched the top spot with an impressive throw of 88.38m. Chopra narrowly trailed behind, with an extraordinary distance of 88.36m, just 2 cm short of Vadlejch’s mark. Anderson Peters, the former world champion from Grenada, showcased a resurgence in form, claiming the third position with a best throw of 86.62m.

Neeraj Chopra

India’s other representative in the competition, Kishore Kumar Jena, finished ninth after recording a best throw of 76.31m, which was over 11m lower than his personal best.

Chopra, donning a jersey with a unique design (all black with a vibrant multicolour splash of pink, orange, and red on the top), had a slow start to the event. In fact, his first throw resulted in a foul, while his second attempt saw him reach a distance of 84.93m. For a thrower known for starting with strong throws, this was slightly concerning, as he found himself in third place behind Vadlejch and Peters at that point. However, he managed to improve in his third attempt, achieving a distance of 86.24m.

Neeraj Chopra

Chopra maintained this momentum over the following rounds, recording distances of 86.18m and 82.28m respectively, securing his position firmly in second place as he entered the final round, where only the top three competitors compete. Meanwhile, Vadlejch fouled out on his final attempt. In a remarkable display, Chopra significantly improved in his last throw, reaching a distance of 88.38m. This improvement proved crucial, especially considering Peters’ final throw of 86.60m, which was 36 cm better than Chopra’s previous best of the night. Neeraj Chopra

Chopra’s ability to deliver under pressure in the final round is a rare sight, and this exceptional performance will undoubtedly boost his confidence as he prepares to defend his title at Paris.

Chopra will need to keep a close eye on Vadlejch, who continues to display his characteristic consistency, and on Peters, who has shown significant improvement after a couple of injury-riddled years following an unfortunate incident in Grenada. Peters’ performance in Doha, with three throws over 85m, signals a return to form, and if he maintains this trajectory, he could emerge as a strong contender at the Olympics.

Neeraj Chopra

On the other hand, Kishore Jena had a disappointing outing, starting with a throw of 75.72m before fouling his subsequent attempts. He managed to reach 76.31m in the third round but failed to advance further, as only the top 8 make it past the third round at Diamond League events. Neeraj Chopra

Jena will aim to recapture his outstanding form from 2023 soon, perhaps finding his stride again in his home state of Odisha, where he will be competing in the Federation Cup on May 15. Neeraj Chopra will also be participating, marking his return to competing on home soil for the first time since his Olympic triumph in 2021.

Neeraj Chopra shared his thoughts following his second-place finish in the Doha Diamond League, emphasizing the significance of the Paris Olympics as his primary focus for the year. He acknowledged the importance of Diamond League meetings while expressing his determination to strive for victory in future competitions. Neeraj Chopra

“The most important competition for me this year is the Paris Olympics, but Diamond League meetings are important too. This was the opener for me this season, and I finished second with a narrow two-centimeter margin, but next time I will try to throw even farther and aim for the win,” said Chopra.

Chopra also expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support he received from Indian fans in Qatar, highlighting their unwavering encouragement. “The support I am getting from the Indian people here in Qatar is always amazing. There aren’t enough words for me to thank them for their support. Maybe in some years, an Indian will throw really far! I feel really proud that I am an Indian,” said the 26-year-old.  Neeraj Chopra

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