Kuortane Games: Neeraj Chopra wins gold in ‘tough conditions’

Neeraj Chopra. File Photo

Days after breaking his own national record recently, India’s ace javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra won the gold medal at the Kuortane Games in Finland on Saturday (June 18).

Chopra, who won a historic gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, hurled the javelin to 86.69 metres in his first attempt in rainy conditions in Kuortane. This was enough for him to take the top spot.

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In his third attempt, the 24-year-old Chopra had an injury scare but all was fine with him, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) said on its Twitter handle.

“All well with @Neeraj_chopra1 after that bad slip on his third attempt. Nothing to worry. Well done #NeerajChopra, congrats for one more top class performance,” AFI tweeted.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshorn Walcott took the silver medal with 86.64 metres while world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada settled for the bronze with a throw of 84.75 metres.

Another Indian – reigning Asian and world para javelin champion Sandeep Chaudhary too took part in the competition. He finished eighth with a throw of 60.35 metres.

Diamond League season

On Twitter, Chopra said he was happy to register his first win of the season. “Tough conditions with the weather, but happy to get my first win of the season here at Kuortane. I’m feeling good and looking forward to kicking off my Diamond League season at @BAUHAUSGALAN on the 30th. Thank you for all the messages and support,” he tweeted.

Earlier, last Tuesday (June 14), in his first competition after winning Olympics gold in 2021, Chopra broke his own national record.

Chopra, with a throw of 89.30 metres at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, bettered his previous mark of 88.07. Chopra’s record effort got him the silver medal.

“I am pleased with my performance. It was my first event of the season, so I am happy to have started the season on a high note. My performance here has boosted my confidence significantly,” Neeraj had said when asked about his performance.

“Going forward I am looking to work on my technique, throw, and overall performance. I am in a happy place at the moment and I just want to do well in the upcoming events,” he added.