Updated: Sat, 27 Aug 2022 12:29 PM IST
Neeraj Chopra, the gold medallist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, made a strong comeback on Friday after missing the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG) following a groin injury and clinched the javelin throw competition at the Lausanne Diamond League with a best throw of 89.08m. With this, he became the first Indian to bag the top spot in a Diamond League event.
Chopra, the 24-year-old javelin thrower who hails from Haryana's Panipat, has now qualified for the finals of the Diamond League, which will be held at Zurich in Switzerland from September 7 to 8. Besides, the Tokyo Olympics gold medallist has also booked his place for the 2023 World Championships, which has a qualification mark of 85.20m.
Chopra's throw sequence on the day was 89.08m and 85.18m. He missed his third attempt while making a foul in the fourth. Chopra skipped his fifth attempt again, but made a strong comeback in his sixth and final attempt by throwing the javelin for a distance of 80.04m.
Meanwhile, Czech Republic's Jakub Valejch grabbed the second spot with a 85.88m throw while Curtis Thompson of the United States of America (USA) threw the javelin for a distance of 83.72m to win the third spot.
Chopra had hurt his groin during the World Athletics Championships in Oregon earlier this year due to which he was forced to miss the Commonwealth Games. However, before getting ruled out of the Birmingham 2022, Chopra had clinched the silver medal at the World Athletics Championships to end India's 19-year medal drought at the tournament.
It must be noted that Chopra had won a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Meanwhile, he had also finished second in the Stockholm leg of the prestigious event trailing one spot behind the world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada with a national record throw of 89.94m, just 6cm short of the 90m mark, the gold standard in the world of javelin throw.