Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra made athletics history in Lausanne on August 26, 2022 becoming the first Indian to win a Diamond League event.
The 24-year-old javelin thrower who won the silver at the World Championships in the USA last month — also a first for the country — opened with an impressive 89.08m and that turned out to be the winning throw in the end.
The victory also helped Chopra to qualify for the Diamond League finals in Zurich next month.
Chopra has been targeting the 90-metre mark and it could be just a matter of time before he achieves the target. The final in Zurich will provide him one last opportunity this year after which he will likely end his season.
Chopra had skipped the Commonwealth Games after suffering a groin strain in his fourth throw at the World Championships.
But his opening throw in Lausanne showed that he was close to his best on return. Chopra’s national record stands at 89.94 metres which he registered at the Stockholm Diamond League. The Diamond League events have no medals and athletes are given points based on where they finish.
Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, who was leading the points table with 20 before Lausanne, didn’t have a great outing. His best throw on the day was 84.56 metres. Germany’s Julian Webber, second on the points table, skipped the event and defending World Champion Anderson Peters is out of the season after being assaulted on a boat and suffering injuries.
After winning the silver at the World Championships, Chopra had spoken about the Diamond League title being the one he wants to add to his CV, which also includes gold medals at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games in 2018.
The Stockholm event in June was Chopra’s first Diamond League competition in nearly four years. The Olympic Champion finished second to world champion Anderson Peters then. It was the first time he had finished in the top three in a Diamond League event.