Another history awaits Neeraj Chopra as he starts favourite in Diamond League Finals | More sports News

ZURICH: Another historic feat awaits Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra since he will start as the favorite in the prestigious Diamond League Finals here Thursday.
Chopra made a spectacular comeback after a month-long injury absence by winning the Lausanne stage of the diamond league series and qualification for the two-day finals here. He became the first Indian to win a Diamond League title.
He had missed the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham (July 28 to August 8) with a minor groin injury he suffered during his silver-winning performance at the World Championships in the United States in July .
The 24-year-old Indian superstar hit form immediately on the return as he tossed the spear 89.08m in his first attempt to seal victory in style in Lausanne on July 26. It looked like the injury didn’t happen at all as he produced his third best career effort.
The youngster from Khandra village near Panipat in Haryana will be aiming for his maiden title in the Diamond League final. He had also qualified for the finals in 2017 and 2018, finishing seventh and fourth respectively.
The Diamond League comprises 32 diamond disciplines, following a championship-style model. Athletes earn points in the Series 13 meet to qualify for the finals in their respective disciplines.
The winner of each Diamond Discipline in the Final will be crowned “Diamond League Champion”.
The six-man javelin throwing field here will be without world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada, who is recovering from injuries after being assaulted inside a boat in his country last month.
Chopra’s biggest rival will be Olympic silver medalist Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic who the Indian also beat in Lausanne.
Vadlejch, who has over 90m to his name this season, clocked a record 85.88m in Lausanne. He qualified for the Zurich final with the most points – 27 – while Chopra qualified in fourth place with 15 points. The top six finishers in the Diamond League qualify for the final in Zurich.
Since winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in August last year, Chopra has faced 31-year-old Vadlejch four times this season and the Indian has edged out the Czech on all occasions.
Vadlejch finished sixth and fourth when Chopra finished second at the Paavo Nurmi Games (June 14) and Stockholm Diamond League (June 30th). While Chopra won silver at the World Championships in Eugene, Vadlejch picked up a bronze medal before the duo faced off again in Lausanne on July 26.
Vadlejch is a more experienced campaigner than Chopra, however, having won the Diamond League final twice (2016 and 2017) and picked up two World Championship medals – a silver (2017) and a bronze (2022) – and a silver at the Tokyo Olympics. He has a season and personal best of 90.88m which he recorded when he won silver at the Doha leg of the Diamond League in May.
The winner of each Diamond discipline in the Final will receive a Diamond Trophy, a cash prize of USD 30,000 and a wild card for the 2023 World Championships in Athletics in Budapest, Hungary.
Chopra has already qualified for the World Championships because his winning throw from the Lausanne stage crossed the 85.20m mark.
Before Chopra, discus thrower Vikas Gowda is the only Indian to finish in the top three in a Diamond League tie. Gowda had finished second twice – in New York in 2012 and Doha in 2014 – and third twice – in Shanghai and Eugene in 2015.

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