The Golden Boy rewrites the national record for the longest Javelin throw.

44 weeks after Neeraj Chopra won the Olympic Gold in Tokyo, he returned to competition at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland. India’s golden boy rewrote the national record with a throw of 89.30 metres.

All eyes in India were glued to their television screens as history-maker Neeraj Chopra began his new Olympic cycle with a set of 6 throws at the Paavo Nurmi Games. The first of the seven tournaments on his schedule, Chopra’s aim was to ease into his throws with an expected distance of 86-88 metres and later peak at the World Championships in Oregon next month.

The two months after the Tokyo Games, Chopra took some time away attending the numerous felicitation ceremonies and photo-shoots. In November, he returned to training, setting base at the Chula Vista training centre in the US. He also moved bases to Turkey early this year. In order to prepare for the two-month long European swing involving the World Championships, Diamond League and Commonwealth Games, he and his coach Klauz Bartonietz travelled to Finland last Thursday.

Chopra also met a few familiar faces from ‘that night in Tokyo’ as Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch and German Julian Weber had also signed up for the IAAF World Challenge event in Turku,Finland. The field also boasted of World Champion Anderson Peters who had a personal best of 93.07 this year in Doha and Trinidadian Keshorn Walcott who threw 89.07 in Hengelo, Netherlands.

In his first attempt of the season, Chopra managed a throw of 86.92m. No other athlete on the field had crossed 85 in their first attempt. Home favourite Oliver Helander threw a mammoth 89.83 on his second attempt, breaking his personal best. It was time for Chopra to respond and he did that by breaking the national record. While it was 53 cm shy of Helander’s throw, coach Klaus and Chopra were elated with the attempt. As the javelin left his hands, he let out a giant roar, signalling how good the throw was – a signature Neeraj Chopra gesture. 89.30 read the board and once again, Neeraj Chopra had bettered the national record. An X was marked on his third, fourth and fifth throw as he couldn’t register a legal throw. 

Helander watched nervously as Chopra lined up for his final throw. The javelin fell close to the 85-metre mark and the screen read 85.85. The Indian had clinched a silver medal on his return to competition and had also broken the national record. Oliver Helander was the champion at the Paavo Nurmi Games 2022.

The figure 89.30 will act as a great confidence booster for Chopra who aims to break the 90-mark this season. It doesn’t look far away now, and the Olympic champions won’t keep us waiting for long either. He will be in action this Saturday, on the 18th at the Kuortane Games in Finland.

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