New Delhi: Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra clinched his first top podium finish of the season by winning the javelin throw event at the Kuortane Games in Finland, beating reigning world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada for the second time in four days, on Saturday.
The 24-year-old Chopra’s opening throw of 86.69m turned out to be the winning distance. Trinidad and Tobago’s 2012 Olympics champion Keshorn Walcott was second with a first-round throw of 86.64m. Peters was third with a best throw of 84.75m, which also came in the opening round.
Chopra’s second and third attempts were fouls and he did only three throws. That meant Chopra had single legal throw and he won the competition with it. His throw was not as big as the 89.30m effort while finishing second in the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, in a star-studded field but the win will surely boost his confidence ahead of the Stockholm Diamond League on June 30.
Finland’s Oliver Helander, who won javelin throw competition in Turku with an effort of 89.83m, did not turn up though his name was entered.
Reigning Asian and world para javelin champion Sandeep Chaudhary, who was also training at the Kuortane Olympic Training Centre along with Chopra, also took part in the competition and finished eighth with a best throw of 60.35m.
Peters is leading the charts this season with his monster throw of 93.07m while winning gold in the Doha Diamond League last month. Chopra’s 89.30m effort in Turku stands at fifth best of the season.
Chopra had made a spectacular return to competition after his historic gold in the Tokyo Olympics with a stunning throw of 89.30m shattering his own national record, which placed him second in a star-studded field at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, on Tuesday.
Chopra’s first competitive event after just over 10 months was nothing short of extraordinary as he nearly touched the coveted 90m mark, considered the gold standard in the world of javelin throw.
Chopra’s earlier national record was 88.07m which he had set in Patiala in March last year. He had won the Tokyo Olympics gold with a throw of 87.58m on August 7, 2021.