What's the story?
Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra is all set to line up against the best in the world when he makes his Diamond League world series debut in Paris on July 1.
Chopra’s former coach, Garry Calvert, who guided him to a gold medal in the IAAF World U20 Championships in Poland last year, was of the view that the Indian should be competing at such a level and must be handled carefully ahead of the World Championships in London in August.
“From now on, I think Chopra should only do Diamond League or similar events, not the low-level Indian competitions. But Paris is not usually a long throwing venue. Some venues produce flat distances. I would like to see him in Ostrava (Czech Republic), it has a real hot field,” said Calvert.
“From now to the Worlds, I would like to see Chopra doing the Diamond League, the Asian Championships (in Bhubaneswar, from July 6), and one or two more competitions before having two weeks before the Worlds. Last year, I had Chopra compete for three weeks straight and then two weeks of no competition,” Calvert added further.
The three best javelin throwers in the world will be battling it out at the seventh edition of the IAAF Diamond League in Paris. Having won India’s first ever World Championships gold in athletics, Chopra will get a taste of the big stage on Saturday.
The heart of the matter
Still only 19, the U20 World Champion will be competing against the top three javelin throwers in the world which includes Olympic champion Thomas Rohler and Johannes Vetter, both from Germany, and Diamond Trophy winner of 2016, Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic.
Hailing from Panipat, Chopra also won the gold at the South Asian Games last year. Currently ranked 14 in the world, Paris will offer Chopra the chance to test his mettle against the very best the sport has to offer.
The Diamond League will be followed by the Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar from July 6. After that, Chopra will have his eyes on the World Championships in London in August.
Chopra has achieved quite a lot at such a tender age. The future certainly looks bright for the former junior world record holder and he looks set for an Olympic stint come Tokyo 2020.