Neeraj Chopra added yet another golden chapter in the history of Indian athletics after winning the gold medal at the prestigious Diamonds League Final in Zurich. The throw of 88.84 meters was far enough to go unsurpassed, making him the first Indian Diamond League winner.
Chopra started off the event with an illegal throw, but recorded 88.84m in his next attempt, which is also the fourth best of his career. Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch settled for a bronze with an 86.94m throw, while Julian Weber’s 83.77m throw won him the bronze.
The absence of the world champion Anderson Peters, who missed the event after being assaulted on the boat in Grenada, was sorely felt by fans. Peters has regularly clocked over 90m, and has been a great challenger to Chopra.
In the World Athletics Championship at Oregon, Peters claimed a gold medal with a 90.46m throw. Chopra, meanwhile, overcame a stuttering start to nail an 88.13m throw that won him a silver medal.
At 24, Chopra is already the greatest athlete the country has ever produced. Other than the historic gold at Tokyo Olympics, he boats podium-finish at two of the most prestigious athletics events – World Athletics Champions and Diamonds League Final.
With this victory, Chopra also secured a place for the next year’s World Athletics Championship, set to be staged in Hungary. Chopra had to withdraw his name from the Commonwealth Games In Birmingham due to a shoulder injury. Arshad Nadeem, his close friend from Pakistan, bagged the gold medal in Birmingham.
Chopra returned to the field after a short lay-off, and recorded a throw of 89.08 – his third best – to win gold at Lausanne Diamond League. Earlier this year in Stockholm, he felt agonizingly short of breaching the 90m mark. Chopra has already signaled his intention to overcome the 90m barrier but is not too fussed about that as long as he keeps winning the medals.
“It’s been a great year for me so far. I have gone over 89m thrice out of the five competitions, 88.13m in the World Championship, and managed to do well in Kuortane Games with 86.69m despite the challenging weather. So, the performance has been consistent and now the focus is on doing well in Zurich,” Chopra said after his LausanneDiamond League meet win.
Lead Image: Indian Athletics Federation