Neeraj Chopra will be a strong contender for the title in the Diamond League Finals on Thursday, having missed the Commonwealth Games due to a groin injury.
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Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra is all set to create history once again as he starts as a title contender in the prestigious Diamond League Finals here on Thursday. Chopra made a strong comeback after being out for a month due to injury, winning the Lausanne stage of the Diamond League series to qualify for the two-day finals here. He became the first Indian to win the Diamond League title in Lausanne. He suffered a minor groin injury while winning silver at the World Championships in the United States in July, which prevented him from participating in the Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
The 24-year-old Indian superstar regained form soon after his comeback to clinch the title with a javelin throw of 89.08m in his first attempt at Lausanne on 26 July. The injury did not show any effect on him and he made the third best effort of his career. The young player of Khandara village near Panipat in Haryana will now have his eyes on his maiden Diamond League Finals title. He also qualified for the finals in 2017 and 2018 and finished seventh and fourth.
Neeraj will wear Diamond League champion crown?
The six-man final will not feature world champion Grenada’s Anderson Peters, who is recovering from injuries after an inside boat attack in his country last month. Chopra’s biggest rival will be Czech Republic’s Olympic silver medalist Yakub Vadledge, who was also beaten by the Indian in Lausanne. Vadledge, who threw more than 90 meters this season, clocked a best of 85.88 meters in Lausanne. He made it to the Zurich Finals with the highest score of 27, while Chopra qualified for the fourth place with 15 points. The top six players in the Diamond League table qualified for the Zurich Finals.
Since winning gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games in August last year, Chopra has competed against 31-year-old Vadledge four times this season and the Indian has beaten the Czech Republic player every time. Vadledge, however, is more experienced than Chopra and has been a two-time Diamond League Final winner (2016 and 2017). He has two medals at the World Championships – a silver (2017) and a bronze (2022). He has also won a silver medal in a Tokyo Olympics. His season and personal best is 90.88m, which he did when he won the silver medal at the Doha stage of the Diamond League in May.
What will you get if you win the Diamond League?
The winner of each event in the final will be awarded a Diamond Trophy, $30,000 in prize money and a wild card for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Chopra, however, has already qualified for the World Championships as he has already achieved the qualifying level with an effort of 85.20m in the Lausanne stage. Before Chopra, discus thrower Vikas Gowda was the only Indian to finish in the top three in Diamond League competition. Gowda had finished twice in 2012 in New York and second in Doha in 2014 and third in 2015 in Shanghai and Eugene on two occasions.