Neeraj Chopra breaks own national record in first competition after gold at Tokyo Olympics | More sports news



NEW DELHI: Indian superstar javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra made a spectacular comeback to competition after his historic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, a stunning 89.30m throw smashing his national record and placing him second in a star-studded field at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old Chopra’s first competitive event after just over 10 months was nothing short of extraordinary as he nearly touched the coveted 90m mark, considered the benchmark in the world of javelin throwing.
Chopra’s previous national record was 88.07m, which he set in Patiala in March last year. He had won gold at the Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.58m on August 7, 2021.

He opened with an impressive 86.92m before sending the spear to 89.30m. His next three attempts were fouls as he shot 85.85m on his sixth and final throw.
25-year-old Finn Oliver Helander, who has a personal best of 88.02m and a season best of 80.36m, was the surprise gold medalist with a better throw of 89.83m than he achieved on his second attempt.
Chopra’s 89.30m effort will take him to fifth place on the season’s world leader list.
Defending world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada, the pre-event favorite with his world best throw of 93.07m while winning gold in the Doha Diamond League last month, finished third with a best effort of 86.60 m. It was Peters’ first loss after seven straight wins this season.
2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago finished fourth with a best throw of 84.02m, followed by Germany’s Julian Weber (84.02m) and Tokyo Olympics silver medalist of Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch (83.91m), who won silver in Doha with a throw of 90.88m.
Chopra’s rival and friend, Germany’s Johannes Vetter, who has a maximum number of throws over 90m among active javelin throwers, was due to take part in the Paavo Nurmi Games but withdrew.
Chopra had said in recent media interactions that he would not put himself under pressure to throw beyond 90m and would seek to develop gradually to peak at the World Championships from 15-24 July in Eugene, USA.
The Paavo Nurmi Games are named after the legendary Finnish mid and long distance runner. It is a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold Series event, one of the most prestigious competitions outside of Diamond League meetings.
Contest organizers have offered an extra incentive for javelin throwers: Anyone who throws beyond the Finnish record of 93.09m will win a Ford Mustang Mach-E SUV. Nobody won it on Tuesday, although Peters said in a lighter vein on Monday that he would be in it.
More than 10,000 people came to watch the events.
Chopra will then compete at the Kourtane Games in Finland on Saturday where he is currently based. He will take part in the Stockholm leg of the Diamond League on June 30. He previously trained in the United States and Turkey before moving to Finland last month.


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