Top five competitors of Neeraj Chopra in 2023 season
The Tokyo Olympics gold medallist will begin his season in the Doha Diamond League.
In an interview with World Athletics, the reigning Olympic champion from India, Neeraj Chopra confirmed that he will be competing in the Doha leg of the Diamond League 2023. Neeraj, popularly known as the Golden Boy in India, became popular worldwide when he grabbed the Olympic champion title with a throw of 87.58m in the finals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in 2021. The 23-year-old etched his name in history, becoming the first track and field individual gold medalist for India.
In 2022, Neeraj showed consistency by winning the silver medal at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, with a throw of 88.13m. At the Stockholm Diamond League, the Indian athlete recorded his personal best of 89.94m to place second in the meeting. However, Neeraj Chopra went on to win his first Diamond League final in Zurich, Switzerland, by registering a throw of 88.44m. Neeraj Chopra’s participation in the Doha leg of the Wanda Diamond League implies that he would be looking to defend his title. He will also be hoping to breach the 90m mark on his way to the podium.
However, with the new season comes new challenges. The 25-year-old will face stiff competition from his javelin competitors who will also be looking to make an impression this season. We will now take a look at the athletes who can pose a serious threat to Neeraj Chopra in 2023.
Julian Weber (Country – Germany)
After becoming the European Champion in Munich 2022, Julian Weber would be more confident than ever as he will target a podium finish at the World Athletics Championships 2023, Diamond League 2023, and Paris 2024 Olympics.
Although he doesn’t have many accomplishments to boast about, the year 2023 may prove to be the breakthrough year for the 28-year-old. He also recorded a personal best of 89.54 m in 2022 and will be hoping to cross the 90 mark in 2023 like Neeraj Chopra.
Jakub Vadlejch (Country – Czech Republic)
Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch is another athlete who can be one of the biggest competitors of Neeraj this season. At the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Jakub shared the podium alongside Neeraj Chopra as he ended as the runner-up with a throw of 86.67 m. At the World Athletics Championships 2022, he was once again present on the podium and this time, he won the bronze medal with an 88.09 m throw.
A month later, he clinched another silver at the European Championships 2022 in Munich with a throw of 87.28 m. Although Vadlejch has regularly won medals in various international events, the prestigious gold medal is something that is missing. As Vadlejch begins his 2023 campaign in Doha Diamond League, he will be eyeing to go even further this time in the coming tournaments. The fact that he achieved his personal best of 90.88 m in the year 2022 says that he is yet to deliver his best.
Keshorn Walcott (Country – Trinidad and Tobago)
Keshorn Walcott is the youngest Olympic champion ever in the history of Javelin Throw at the mega event. The then-19 years old Keshorn won the gold in the 2012 London Olympics after finishing 10th in the qualification round. In 2015, he broke the 90m mark and registered his best throw to date, a 90.16m long effort in Laussane. The Carribean faded away from the international scenes though after winning the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games.
However, since 2021, the current Trinidad and Tobago champion has worked his way back amongst the bests in the world. And three of his top five best-ever throws have come after 2021, all three good enough to win him a medal at Tokyo and the best two enough to win him the gold. He will be competing in the Doha Diamond League 2023 against Neeraj Chopra.
Arshad Nadeem (Country – Pakistan)
After earning himself a position in the Pakistan contingent for the Tokyo Olympics 2020, Arshad Nadeem became the first track and field athlete from the nation to qualify for the final in the Olympics. He also accomplished the same feat during the World Athletics Championships 2022 by reaching the final. But, at the Commonwealth Games 2022, he did something that no Pakistani had ever contemplated.
Nadeem defeated two-time world champion Anderson Peters to claim the title of the Commonwealth Games. On his way to gold, he smashed both the national record and the games’ record with a gigantic 90.18m throw. With this, Arshad also became the first athlete from South Asia to break the 90m mark. Post Arshad’s impressive performance in Birmingham 2022, he has established himself as a prominent contender in the men’s javelin throw. Keeping in mind India and Pakistan’s long-standing rivalry, the competition between Neeraj Chopra and Arshad Nadeem will now be more fierce than ever.
Anderson Peters (Country – Grenada)
Grenada’s Anderson Peters will be the reigning Olympic champion’s biggest competitor. Peters prevented Neeraj Chopra from achieving the World Champion title at the World Athletics Championships 2022. Despite being the world champion in Eugene, Oregon, with a throw of 90.54 m, he had two more throws over 90 m in the men’s javelin finals. Peters, thus, earned two successive titles as he had previously won the event during the World Championships 2019 in Doha.
At the Doha World Championships, Peters claimed the title with a throw of 86.89m. In August 2022, Anderson Peters clinched the silver medal at the Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022, adding another CWG medal to his long list of accomplishments. Considering this level of consistency on the international platform, he is definitely going to give Neeraj Chopra a tough time on the field.
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