Tokyo 2020 Olympic javelin throw champion Neeraj Chopra started his season by winning the Doha Diamond League 2023 with a world-leading effort of 88.67m on his first attempt at the Qatar Sports Club, here on Friday.
Chopra, known for his explosive starts, came within touching distance of his personal best and national javelin record of 89.94m on his first attempt.
Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, the Tokyo Olympics silver medallist, wasn’t far behind and hit a season-best 88.63m in his second attempt.
The Indian javelin ace followed up his first throw with 86.04m in his second attempt. Neeraj Chopra’s third throw measured 85.47m before he fouled his fourth. His last two throws measured 84.37m and 86.52m.
Reigning world javelin champion Anderson Peters from Grenada logged 85.88 to come third. His throw also came off the first attempt.
With the top-place finish, Neeraj Chopra earned eight qualification points from the first leg.
Notably, athletes competing in Diamond League are awarded points instead of medals and the top eight athletes at the end of the Diamond League series qualify for the Diamond League final. This year’s final will be held in Eugene on September 16 and 17.
On the other hand, another Indian javelin thrower Eldhose Paul, a Commonwealth Games triple jump champion, finished 10th in the 11-men field with a best jump of 15.84m on his first attempt.
Making his Diamond League debut, the 26-year-old Paul hit 13.65m and 14.70m on his next two attempts and failed to progress further to the medal round. His personal best is 16.99m which he achieved at India’s Federation Cup last year.
Reigning Olympic triple jump champion Pedro Pichardo of Portugal managed 17.91m to top the charts while Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist Hugues Fabrice Zango of Burkina Faso came second with 17.81m. Reigning Diamond League winner Andy Diaz Hernandez from Cuba came third with the best effort of 17.80.
The next leg of the Diamond League series will be held in Rabat, Morocco on May 28. On the other hand, Neeraj will be in action next at the Golden Spike Ostrava event in the Czech Republic on June 27.