Days after winning a silver medal and setting a new national record at the Paavo Nurmi athletics meet, Tokyo Olympics champion Neeraj Chopra on Saturday clinched the men’s javelin throw gold at the 2022 Kuortane Games in Finland with an impressive throw of 86.69 metres.
Chopra’s first throw, measuring 86.69m, was enough for him to clinch the top spot on the podium. However, his winning throw was well short of the 89.30m — the personal best he had logged during the Paavo Nurmi Games earlier in the week.
London 2012 gold medallist Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago won the silver with 86.64m while world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada settled for bronze with an 84.75 attempt.
The 24-year-old Chopra set the pace of the competition early, taking the lead after the first round of throws with an 86.69m attempt — 0.05m more than Walcott. He failed to log legitimate attempts with his next two throws and suffered a nasty fall during his third attempt. The Indian was seen wincing in pain right after the fall and didn’t take any more attempts after that.
Meanwhile, Neeraj’s compatriot Sandeep Chaudhary, a Paralympian finished eighth with 60.35m. On the other hand, Oliver Helander, who beat Chopra to win gold at the Paavo Nurmi Games, didn’t start the event.
Chopra is scheduled to travel to Sweden next for the Stockholm leg of the Diamond League before next month’s engagements at the World Athletics Championships in the US and the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.