Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will be a star attraction when the Indian Grand Prix 3 gets underway in Patiala on Friday (March 5). The 23-year-old, who has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, gave the previous two legs of the IGP a miss.
He will be throwing for the first time since January last year.
Earlier, the 2018 Asian Games gold medallist was in Bhubaneswar for a month-long camp to avoid the chilling weather in Punjab. Chopra, who had a throw of 87.86m in South Africa in January last year to book his ticket to Tokyo, will also be looking to better his performance in the IGP.
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It is understood that Chopra will participate in the upcoming Federation Cup as well before moving abroad to increase his competition level in preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.
With a national record of 88.06m which he achieved at the 2018 Asian Games, Chopra would be aiming to touch the 90m mark.
Shivpal Yadav to come hard against Neeraj Chopra
Apart from Neeraj Chopra, the other Indian heavyweight to grace the IGP is Shivpal Yadav, who also booked his ticket to Tokyo last year. Yadav was also part of the contingent that was in Bhubaneswar last month and is expected to give a tough fight in Patiala.
The other elite Indians in the competition are long jumper M Sreeshankar, and Avinash Sable in the 3000m steeplechase. Sreeshankar is also a national record holder clearing the 8m mark with an effort of 8.05m at the IGP 2. He is aiming for the Olympic qualifying mark of 8.22m.
Meanwhile, Sable will be in action for the first time since 2019, when he qualified for the Olympics in the World Championship. Hima Das, who was recently inducted as a DSP by Assam Police, will also be in action in the women’s 100m.
Odisha sprinter Dutee Chand will once again not be in action for the third leg after missing the previous leg at the same venue. She won the women's 100m in the first leg.