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Neeraj Chopra wins gold at Paavo Nurmi Games 2024

Published at :June 19, 2024 at 12:46 AM
Modified at :July 6, 2024 at 6:00 PM
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Kartik Warrier

Neeraj Chopra clinched the top spot with a best throw of 85.97m.

Reigning Olympic, World Champion, and India’s ‘Golden Boy’ Neeraj Chopra marked his return to action, with a gold medal at the Paavo Nurmi Games 2024 in Finland, on Tuesday. This is his first title at this competition. A throw of 85.97m in his third attempt was enough for the 26-year-old to take the prize ahead of Finnish duo Toni Keranen (84.19m, a personal best) and Oliver Helander (83.96m).

Chopra, who is known for his consistency in throwing in a band of 85m to 89m, once again delivered. The gold medal on his return should give him great confidence, as he fine-tunes his preparations and tries to attain a peak in performance and fitness at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

His previous season best, before today’s gold medal, stood at 88.36m (at the Doha Diamond League). Chopra also won the gold medal at the Federation Cup in May — his first tournament in India after he was crowned the Olympic champion in 2021. He was also subsequently scheduled to take part at the Ostrava Golden Spike, before withdrawing from the Meet later.

The 26-year-old took a small precautionary break as he had “felt something” in his adductor, wanting to avoid any possible injury in the Olympic year.

In Turku, Chopra started off with a throw of 83.62m, which was enough to keep him at the top of the charts. Unfancied Toni Keranen of Finland occupied the second spot after the first set of throws, with a distance of 82.59m.

ALSO READ: Paavo Nurmi Games 2024 Highlights: Neeraj Chopra wins men’s javelin throw competition

Chopra then threw a distance of 83.45m on his next attempt, before Oliver Helander of Finland threw a distance of 83.96m to overtake him as the lead.

But the reigning Olympic champion then upped his game, attaining a distance of 85.97m in his next attempt, which ensured he remained at the first place until the end.

Toni achieved his personal best with a throw of 84.19m on his fourth attempt, to regain the second spot. Eventually, it was enough to win him a silver. Chopra could only attain a distance of 82.21m on his fourth throw.

There was no change at the top after the fifth round, with Chopra and Helander both fouling on their throws, and Toni not opting to throw.

ALSO READ: Top five longest javelin throws of Neeraj Chopra

Status quo was maintained, as both the home athletes fouled on their last attempts. Chopra signed off with a throw of 82.97m.

World Leader Max Dehning of Germany, who had recently become the youngest member to join the 90m club, was a massive disappointment, finishing seventh with a meagre distance of 79.84m.

2022 World Championship gold medallist Anderson Peters of Grenada too failed to impress, with a throw of 82.58 giving him a fourth-place finish.

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London Olympic Games 2012 gold medallist Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago achieved his season best, throwing 81.93m, but could not improve it later, finishing at the sixth place.

It is worth noting that Chopra had won silver in the 2022 edition of the Paavo Nurmi Games, finishing behind Helander. He could not take part last year due to an injury.

Chopra will be next seen at the Paris Diamond League on July 7, which would act as a rehearsal for him before the Olympic Games, where he will be aiming to become the first Indian to win two individual Olympic gold medals.

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