Neeraj Chopra, the reigning Tokyo 2020 Olympic javelin throw champion, kicked off his season with a bang by clinching victory at the Doha Diamond League 2023. He secured first place with an impressive world-leading effort of 88.67 m on his first attempt at the Qatar Sports Club on Friday. Chopra, known for his explosive starts, almost broke his personal best and national javelin record of 89.94 m with his first throw.
The Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch, the Tokyo Olympics silver medalist, also performed well, hitting a season-best of 88.63 m in his second attempt.
Chopra followed up his initial throw with 86.04 m in his second attempt, and his third throw measured 85.47 m before he fouled his fourth. His last two throws measured 84.37 m and 86.52 m. Reigning world javelin champion Anderson Peters from Grenada also impressed, coming in third with 85.88 m, which also came from his first attempt.
Chopra earned eight qualification points from the first leg, putting him in a strong position to qualify for the Diamond League final. Unlike most competitions, athletes competing in the Diamond League are awarded points instead of medals, and the top eight athletes at the end of the series qualify for the final. This year's final will be held in Eugene on September 16 and 17.
Eldhose Paul finishes 10th in Men's Triple Jump
In contrast, another Indian athlete, Eldhose Paul, a Commonwealth Games triple jump champion, had a disappointing outing, finishing 10th out of 11 participants in the men's triple jump event. He recorded his best jump of 15.84m on his first attempt, but failed to progress further to the medal round. Making his Diamond League debut, the 26-year-old athlete hit 13.65m and 14.70m on his next two attempts. His personal best is 16.99m, achieved at India's Federation Cup last year.
Reigning Olympic triple jump champion Pedro Pichardo of Portugal managed to top the charts with a leap of 17.91m, while Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Hugues Fabrice Zango of Burkina Faso came second with 17.81m. Reigning Diamond League winner Andy Diaz Hernandez from Cuba came third with the best effort of 17.80.
Next Stop: Rabat, Morocco
The next leg of the Diamond League series will be held in Rabat, Morocco, on May 28. Neeraj Chopra will be in action next at the Golden Spike Ostrava event in the Czech Republic on June 27.