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Neeraj Chopra misses first place by two centimeters at Doha Diamond League 2024; Kishore Jena ends ninth

Published at :May 11, 2024 at 12:52 AM
Modified at :May 11, 2024 at 12:59 AM
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Ajay Gandhar

Jakub Vadlejch claimed the top spot.

India’s Olympic and world champion Neeraj Chopra began his 2024 Diamond League campaign with a second-place finish at the Doha Diamond League 2024 on Friday, narrowly missing out on the first place. Chopra’s best throw, which was his final attempt, of 88.36m fell agonizingly short of Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, who took the top spot with 88.38m.

In an epic back-and-forth battle between the two heavyweights of men’s javelin, it was the veteran Vadlejch who prevailed by the slimmest of margins – just two centimeters separated the first and second place at the Qatar Sports Club.

For the 26-year-old Chopra, the reigning Olympic champion, it was a strong return to top-level competition as he ramps up preparations to defend his title at the Paris Olympics in July. His 88.36m throw was a season-best for the India’s golden boy.

Grenada’s Anderson Peters returned with a third-place finish with an 86.62m throw in a high-quality field in Doha. The other Indian in the competition, Kishore Jena had a disappointing outing in Doha, struggling to find his rhythm. After an opening throw of 75.72m, he fouled his second attempt.

His third effort of 76.31m proved to be his best, but that wasn’t enough for him to finish inside the top eight. This performance fell well short of his personal best of 87.54m set at the previous year’s Asian Games.

Neeraj Chopra’s performance was full of resilience. Despite a foul on his first attempt, he secured the second position with an 84.93m throw, trailing Jakub Vadlejch’s 85.87m. Anderson Peters’ 85.75m throw temporarily pushed Neeraj to third.

However, Neeraj regained the second spot with an 86.24m effort, while Vadlejch extended his lead with throws of 86.93m and 88.38m. Neeraj’s final throw of 88.36m fell agonizingly short of Vadlejch’s mark

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This was a repeat of last year’s Eugene Diamond League final, where Vadlejch edged out Chopra by 40cm for the gold.

While Chopra will be disappointed to miss out on the top spot by such a tiny margin, the performance underlines his impressive consistency at the highest level. He remains the overwhelming favorite to retain his Olympic title in Paris after his historic gold in Tokyo.

The upcoming Diamond League meetings and Paavo Nurmi Games will give Chopra valuable chances to fine-tune his technique and consistency as he seeks to become just the fifth javelin thrower to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals.

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