Watch: Neeraj Chopra breaks own national record, finishes fourth at Doha Diamond League
India’s javelin star Neeraj Chopra reaffirmed his status as one of the best in the world by producing a personal best throw of 87.43m -- a new Indian national record -- to finish fourth in a heavily-packed field at the 2018 IAAF Diamond League meet in Doha, Qatar on Friday. The 20-year-old achieved it in his second attempt, which bettered his previous personal best mark of 86.48m that he had created on his way to clinching the U-20 World Championships gold medal in Poland two years ago.
The resident of Khandra village in Panipat was coming off a dazzling performance at the Commonwealth Games last month, where he accomplished his then-season’s best mark of 86.47m, a centimetre short of his previous personal best. It etched his name in record books as India’s first ever gold medallist in men’s javelin throw.
Chopra took it one step further at the season’s inaugural Diamond League competition at the Qatari capital. The 10-man field had the Olympic champion Thomas Rohler and the world champion Johannes Vetter, apart from the Rio Olympic silver medallist Julius Yego and the 2017 world silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch.
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In such a tough competition, the young Indian raised the bar, although the start was not that great as he could come up with just a modest 81.17m in his first throw. He then summoned his very best in his second attempt before fouling his next three chances and then settling for a decent 81.06m in his sixth and final attempt.
Chopra was in a position to win a medal before the mighty Germans made a clean sweep of the podium. Rohler clinched the gold with 91.78m, Vetter took the silver with 91.56m and Andreas Hofmann bagged the bronze with 90.08m.
Chopra, who is now training under the chief national javelin coach Uwe Hohn, a German world record holder, will head to Finland to hone his skills at a national camp to be held from May 10-June 22. He was previously training under Werner Daniels in Offenburg, Germany for three months before returning to India right before the Gold Coast Games.