And it begins: Neeraj Chopra set to start Olympic build-up at Diamond league along with Kishore Jena

01:20 PM May 09, 2024 | PTI |

Qatar (Doha): Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra’s Paris Games preparations will be put through a stern test when he begins his season in the first leg of the prestigious Diamond League one-day meet series against a star-studded but familiar field, here on Friday.


The 26-year-old Indian javelin superstar, who is also the reigning world and Asian Games champion, will be up against the likes of former world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada and Olympic and world-medallist Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic.

Asian Games silver-medallist and his compatriot Kishore Jena will also be in the fray as he makes his Diamond League debut. Jena has a personal best of 87.54m while Chopra’s all-time best is 89.94m, which is also the national record.

European champion Julian Weber of Germany, fourth in the Olympic Games and World Championships, will also compete in the 10-man field. The league will then move to Morocco on May 19.

Chopra is also the defending champion here as he had set the tone for his title-laden 2023 season with a victory ahead of Vadlejch and Peters.


The Indian had sent the spear to a distance of 88.67m then as against the 88.63m and 85.88m of Vadlejch and Peters respectively.

In 2022, Peters had delivered the fifth-longest throw in history (93.07m) at the Qatar Sports Club here.

Vadlejch, the Tokyo Olympics silver-medallist and 2023 Diamond League champion had recorded a personal best of 90.88m here in 2022.

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.

At that event, he will be up against 19-year-old sensation Max Dehning of Germany, the latest entrant to the 90m club.

His goal for this season is to defend his Olympic title and to break the elusive 90m barrier. In an earlier interview to PTI, Chopra had stressed on the need to stay injury-free.

“My training sessions have gone off well so far. I always lay stress on fitness along with strength and technique,” he had stated last month.

“In the past few years, there were small injuries which caused interruptions in my schedule. So, I have to also work on small exercises to save myself from injuries,” he had said.

“There should not be any distractions because of those kind of small injuries. I want to be fully fit and give my best in Paris. That is my focus,” he added.


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