Newly-crowned world champion Neeraj Chopra was not at his best but still finished second with a final round throw of 85.71m in the men’s javelin event of the Diamond League Meeting in Zurich on Thursday.
The 25-year-old Chopra, also the reigning Olympic champion, produced three legal throws of 80.79m, 85.22m and 85.71m while the remaining three were fouls. He finished behind Jakub Vadlejch (85.86m) of Czech Republic, who had won a bronze in the World Championships.
India’s Neeraj Chopra, barely a week after becoming the new world champion, finished second in the men’s javelin throw event at the Zurich Diamond League 2023 in Switzerland on Friday.
Neeraj Chopra’s best effort at the meet was 85.71m, which came with his final throw. The Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch was first with 85.86m. Neeraj Chopra’s best throw is 89.94m, a national record.
The result also ended Neeraj Chopra’s winning streak in the 2023 season. Heading into the Zurich meet, the Indian javelin throw ace had won the Diamond League legs in Doha and Lausanne before clinching a historic gold at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest.
“I feel very good now, because everyone is a little tired after the World Championships – we gave our 100 percent there, but for this competition here my focus was to just stay healthy, and we have to focus now for Eugene (Diamond League Final) and then the Asian Games,” Neeraj Chopra said.
“For me, the focus was just to stay healthy and to give my 100 percent in my next competitions,” the Indian ace added. “Sometimes we need to read our body. Today, I feel OK, I am 100 percent OK, but I did not push too much. Sometimes, our No. 1 goal is to stay healthy. Today I gave it my best, but still with the focus to stay healthy.”
Competing on a clear night at the Letzigrund Stadium – the same venue where he became the 2022 Diamond League champion last year – Neeraj Chopra began with a modest 80.79m.
After fouling his second and third throws, Neeraj Chopra managed an 85.22m with his fourth attempt to climb up to second behind Jakub Vadlejch, who logged an 85.86m with his fourth throw.
Chopra fouled again on his fifth attempt but entered the three-way sixth-round shootout with Jakub Vadlejch, the Tokyo 2020 silver medallist, and Germany’s Julian Weber, the reigning European champion.
After a foul by Vadlejch, Neeraj Chopra steamed in to throw an 85.71m, just 0.15m short of Vadlejch’s leading mark. Julian Weber came up with a solid 84.92m.
Neeraj Chopra’s marks at Zurich Diamond League 2023: 80.79m, No mark, No mark, 85.22m, No mark, 85.71m
Athletes are awarded points instead of medals for competing in each leg of the Diamond League series. The top six athletes in each event at the end of all the legs will qualify for the Diamond League Final in Eugene in September.
Neeraj Chopra had already sealed his place in the finals coming into the Zurich meet.