The two-time World Championships gold medalist and Diamond League number one in women’s pole vault talked about the 19th edition of the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2024, scheduled for Sunday.
Indian athletics poster boy Neeraj Chopra’s winning streak ended abruptly as just a week after becoming the new world champion he finished second in the javelin throw event at the Zurich Diamond League in Switzerland last evening.
On the other hand, in the long jump event Murali Sreeshankar, finished fifth with a best effort of 7.99m.
The 25-year-old Neeraj looked a bit off-colour as he committed three fouls in his six attempts. His second-place effort was 85.71m, which came with his final throw. The Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch was first with 85.86m.
Neeraj’s best throw is 89.94m, which is a national record. His Olympic gold medal-winning throw of 87.58m at Tokyo 2020 is 2.36m short of his personal best.
Competing on a clear night at the Letzigrund Stadium – the same venue where he became the Diamond League champion last year – the Indian began with a modest throw of 80.79m.
After fouling his second and third throws, Neeraj 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.
Neeraj 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, the Indian came up with a throw of 85.71m, just 0.15m short of the Czech’s leading mark. Julian Weber came up with a solid 84.92m,
Before the Zurich meet, the Indian 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 per cent 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 said. ”
” For me, the focus was just to stay healthy and to give my 100 per cent in my next competitions,” he said adding. “Sometimes we need to read our body. Today, I feel OK, I am 100 per cent 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.”..
Neeraj’s marks at this meet: 80.79m, No mark, No mark, 85.22m, No mark, 85.71m.
He has already sealed his place in the finals coming into the Zurich meet.
Meanwhile, long jumper Murali Sreeshankar was placed fifth in the meet with a best effort of 7.99m.
This was Murali’s third Diamond League event of the year. The Indian managed an impressive third-place finish at the Paris leg and was fifth in Lausanne
His last evening‘s showing also earned him four qualifying points, sealing his spot in the Diamond League Final. He is now only the second Indian, after Neeraj Chopra, to make the cut for a Diamond League Fina
Murali, who has a personal best of 8.41m, started with an impressive 7.99m with his first attempt, which put him in the lead, ahead of Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou, the reigning Olympic, world and Diamond League champion, after the first round of jumps.
An 8.04m from Tentoglou, however, saw the Indian drop down to second place in the second round. Jamaica’s Tajay Gayle took the lead with an 8.07m leap in the fourth round.
In the fifth round, USA’s Jarrion Lawson’s 8.05m and Czech jumper’s Radek Juska’s 8.04m effort pushed the Indian further down to fifth, denying him the last crack at climbing the leaderboard. Only the top three got to attempt their sixth jump.
Miltiadis Tentoglou, with a clutch of 8.20m with his final jump, eventually pipped Tajay Gayle and Jarrion Lawson to the top spot.
Murali marks at Zurich League: 7.99m, 7.96m, No Mark, 7.96m, 7.9
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.