Neeraj Chopra secures Doha Jewel Association title; records best toss of 88.67m

Neeraj Chopra won the Diamond League competition in Doha on Friday with a throw that set a new world record of 88.67 metres. Chopra will take solace from the victory in a competitive field that included world champion Anderson Peters and Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic, even if he still fell short of the elusive 90m barrier at the Suhaim bin Hamad Stadium.

Chopra would have bet on breaking the 90-meter barrier given the manner he started out with 88.67m. Chopra entered the fray after Peters’ opening throw of 85.88 metres, which placed the field under pressure right away.

The scores for Chopra’s series were 88.67m, 86.04m, 85.47, foul, 84.37m, and 86.52m. With throws of 88.63 metres and 88.47 metres, Valdejch, who leads the season in distance before Chopra, kept the competition on their toes and came in second. Peters finished third with an effort of 85.88 metres.

The 25-year-old Chopra will enter the World Championships (August) and Asian Games (September) with confidence after winning his season opener against a strong field.

Chopra had radiated confidence going into the Doha tournament about breaking the 90-meter barrier. He crossed the 89-meter mark in three competitions last year, but he painfully missed the mark each time. It appeared as though he would reach the goal when he set a personal record of 89.94 metres in Stockholm.

However, what set him apart from the competition was his extraordinary consistency. He regularly exceeded 88 metres in five of the six tournaments. A comparable long throw of 88.13 metres earned him silver at the world championships in Eugene, and his 88.14 metres gave him his first Diamond League victory. He started the season off similarly.

Chopra hoped he would reach the 90-meter mark in Doha on the day of his season-opening competition to end the controversy once and for all. In Doha last year, Peters and Vadlejch crossed the 90-meter mark. He did add that he will take care to avoid hurting himself. At the world championships, Chopra pushed himself to the limit and strained his groyne. As a result, he had to withdraw from the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Credit goes to Getty image

“I felt a lot of pain after that fourth throw at the world championships, but I couldn’t stop myself. Perhaps I ought to have stopped there, he had remarked. We have a fairly extended season this year. The goal is to stay fit all season long and avoid injuries. Injury na aaye, Bas,” he continued. For Chopra, the Diamond League will be a significant event as well. Considering the significance he places on the high-profile event, he will aim to compete at his absolute best in the remaining Diamond League events in Lausanne (June 30), Monaco (July 21), and Zurich (August 31), before the series concludes on September 16 at Hayward Field in Eugene.

Each competition gives $10,000 in prize money, with $30,000 going to the overall winner.Chopra declared that he was in better physical and mental shape at the beginning of this season than he had been at the start of the previous one. “Last year, I got really close (90m),” he claimed. “I’m not overconfident, but you can say it when you’re feeling well. I have confidence that it (the 90m) will happen this time since I am feeling good and have been training well.

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