Eugene (US), September 17
Olympics and world champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra failed to defend his Diamond League title, finishing second with a modest effort of 83.80m in the Final here.
The 25-year-old, who clinched his maiden World Championships gold last month, struggled to produce his best in the winner-takes-all finale of the 13-leg Diamond League on Saturday night.
His best effort of the day came in the second throw, with the series reading foul, 83.80m, 81.37m, foul, 80.74 and 80.90m.
This was Chopra’s first below-85m throw of the season. He had qualified for the Final in the third spot. He had won the title in Zurich last year with a throw of 88.44m.
No competitor could touch 85m as Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic became the champion for the third time. He produced a best throw of 84.24m, which came in his sixth and final attempt. He was leading the six-man field from the beginning following his first round effort of 84.01m. Vadlejch, who won bronze in the World Championships, had also clinched the title in 2017 and 2018.
Oliver Helander of Finland took the third spot with a best throw of 83.74m. Two-time world champion Anderson Peters’ poor season continued as he finished last with a throw of 74.71m.
Vadlejch won the Diamond League trophy and $32,000 while Chopra pocketed $12,000 for finishing second.
Chopra, who has a personal best of 89.94m and season’s best of 88.77m, will now head to the Hangzhou Asian Games, where he will defend the gold he had won in 2018 in Indonesia.
“I still have one more competition, Asian Games in China,” Chopra said. “In big competitions, it’s about the mindset. We don’t need to prepare, when we enter the stadium, our mind is ready and body will be ready for the competition,” he added.
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