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Neeraj Chopra Finishes Second With 83.80 Metre Throw at Diamond League Finale

Jakub Vadlejch from the Czech Republic emerged as the champion.

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India javelin star and the reigning world number one and World Champion Neeraj Chopra was unsuccessful in defending his Diamond League final title on Saturday night in Eugene, USA.

The 25-year-old Indian finished second behind Czech Jakob Vadlejch, a former Diamond League champion in 2016 and 2017, whose best throw of 84.24m was enough for him to clinch the season-ending title. Neeraj’s best effort came in his second attempt where he threw a distance of 83.80m. Finland's Oliver Helander finished third, with a throw of 83.74m.

Neeraj holds the Indian national record at 89.94m and won a world championship silver medal at the same venue last year with an 88.13m effort.

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Neeraj began with a foul on his first attempt. He got off the mark with an 83.80m mark with his second throw and jumped to the second spot behind Vadlejch, who started with an 84.01m effort.

An 81.37m throw on the third attempt followed by another foul from Neeraj allowed Vadlejch to keep the lead despite the latter managing just one legal throw from the first four attempts.

Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Vadlejch logged his best mark of the night with the final attempt to defeat Neeraj Chopra for the second time this year. Vadlejch had also beaten Neeraj Chopra at the Zurich Diamond League last month.

The Diamond League Final marked Neeraj's second to last competition of the season before defending his title at the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou later this month.

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He has had a stellar summer coming into the Diamond League final, adding more firsts to his growing list of laurels – becoming the first Indian to win a World Championship gold, at the Budapest edition this year, on 27 August. In May, he also climbed to the top of the men's javelin world rankings and is currently also ranked number one.

At the World Championships, the 25-year-old threw the javelin a distance of 88.17 metres on his second attempt to bag the gold. It was also his season best throw, coming into this weekend's Diamond League final. Three days after winning the gold in Budapest, Neeraj followed it up with a silver medal at the Zurich Diamond League despite a minor injury.

Since his last Diamond League outing on 31 August, Neeraj has been training in Magglingen, Switzerland. A total of Rs 5.89 lakh was sanctioned by the Sports Ministry for Neeraj's camp that stretched from 1 to 12 September.

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Of the four Diamond League meets that featured men's javelin this season, Neeraj competed in just three and finished first at two events and second in one. At the Doha Diamond League on 5 May, Neeraj made his season debut, throwing a distance of 88.67m to finish first. He then struggled with a groin strain that ruled him out of competition for a bit before he made his comeback almost two months later in Lausanne, where he also placed first, with a throw of 87.66m.

On 31 August was his most recent outing, at the Zurich Diamond League, where he threw a distance of 85.71m.

While a win at a Diamond League event doesn't earn an athlete a medal, it helps them bag points based on which they can qualify for the season, ending the Diamond League finale. The top six athletes feature in the final that was being hosted by Eugene, Oregon, this weekend.

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Topics:  Neeraj Chopra 

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