After a scintillating performance at the Doha Diamond League at the start of May, that saw India’s javelin throw wunderkind Neeraj Chopra break the national record, the 20-year-old will be in action at the Eugene leg of the IAAF Diamond League in Oregon, USA early on Saturday morning. The sizzling 87.43m -- his personal best throw -- helped him finish fourth in a star-studded field that had the Olympic champion Thomas Rohler and the world champion Johannes Vetter.
Chopra, who was in contention for a medal, was ultimately pipped by the German trio of Vetter, Rohler and Andreas Hofmann, who clinched the gold, silver and the bronze respectively.
Having established himself as a top contender for the big prize, the Oregon meet will be quite a test for the young Indian as nobody in the eight-man field has thrown less than 80m this season. In a gathering of the world’s best javelin throwers, Chopra will have his task cut out with the three Doha medallists being there. Each of them achieved a distance of over 90m at the Qatari capital.
Former junior champion, Hofmann, who picked up the bronze there, has thrown down the gauntlet at his more accomplished compatriots with yet another 90m+ throw just days ahead of the Eugene Diamond League. At the Pfingstmeeting in Rehlingen, Germany on May 20, Hofmann broke his personal best record for 91.44m.
At the same competition, world silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch achieved his season’s best of 88.76m whereas Vetter’s throw nosedived to 84.14m.
Chopra will thus have to be at his flawless best to have any chance of coming close to a medal. The steadily-improving Chopra has been a model of consistency this season, having grabbed the Commonwealth Games gold medal with 86.47m before his record-breaking show at the inaugural Diamond League meet.
The diligent youngster, currently India’s brightest prospect in athletics, already hopes to improve his throw to at least 88m this season. He might not finish among the medallists at the Prefontaine Classic, but this experience will surely help him further as he aims for greater heights in his discipline.
Here's all the information you need to know:
Tournament name: Prefontaine Classic
Venue: Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, USA
Date: May 26, 2018
Time: 07:12am IST
Live-stream: Diamond League official website (https://www.diamondleague.com/livestream/)
Live updates: Sportskeeda