New Delhi: A strong field awaits Olympic javelin champion Neeraj Chopra at the prestigious Diamond League Meet in Stockholm on June 30, which will be his biggest event ahead of the World Championships in Eugene, USA, next month.
Chopra, 24, will enter the Swedish capital with confidence after his first win of the season at the Kuortane games in Finland on June 18, beating reigning world champions Anderson Peters from Grenada for the second time this month.
The Indian superstar had won silver in his first match of the season at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland on June 14 with a national record throw of 89.30m.
Chopra was badly disappointed during his third attempt at the Kuortane Games, but fortunately did not sustain an injury. Conditions there were treacherous for the javelin throw as the run-up was slippery due to the rain. However, his first round throw of 86.64m was enough to give him gold.
Peters’ name is on the entry list in Stockholm, but he did not complete all his throws in an event in Finland’s Orimattila on Wednesday, with a best throw of 71.94m.
The athlete from Grenada has seen a dip in form after winning the Doha Diamond League Meet with a season-leading throw of 93.07m. He then had thrown 86.60m at Paavo Nurmi Games for third place and 84.75m at Kuortane Games for another third place.
Czech Republic Olympic silver medalist Jakub Vadlejch and compatriot Tokyo Games bronze winner Vitezslav Vesely will also be in action. This is the first time that all medalists from the Tokyo Olympics will compete together this season.
Vadlejch, who finished sixth at Paavo Nurmi Games with a best throw of 83.91m, returns after skipping the Kuortane Games. The same goes for Germany’s Julian Weber, who returns after finishing fifth at Paavo Nurmi Games with 84.02m.
Finnish Oliver Helander, who surprisingly won gold at the Paavo Nurmi Games with a big throw of 89.83m, also returns after skipping Kuortane Games.
Ace German Johannes Vetter, the 2017 world champion and who has maximum throws of over 90 meters among active javelin throwers, is still on the sidelines due to an injury. He had also withdrawn from the German National Championships.
Another Indian, Murali Sreeshankar, will also participate in the meet, but his long jump event is not included in the Diamond League program. It is listed as an additional event.
But the long jump field is strong, with gold medalist from the Tokyo Olympics, Tentoglou Miltiadis of Greece, and silver winner of the World Indoor Championships, Thobias Montler.
Sreeshankar also participates in this event in preparation for the World Championships (July 15-24) and Commonwealth Games (July 28 to August 8.).
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