Zurich Diamond League Meeting: World Champion Neeraj Chopra ends second; Murali Sreeshankar finishes fifth

Image Source : GETTY IMAGES Neeraj Chopra (Left) and Murali Sreeshankar (Right)

India’s newly crowned world champion Neeraj Chopra finished second with a final throw of 85.71 in the men’s javelin event of the Diamond League Meeting on Thursday, August 31. The 25-year-old star athlete from India made six attempts during his event and managed to churn out three legal throws measuring 80.79, 85.22 and 85.71 m, while the other three of his throws ended as fouls.

The winner of the Diamond League trophy held last year, Neeraj finished second to Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic who managed a throw of 85.86 m. Vadlejch bettered his performance at the World Athletics Championships held recently where he grabbed a bronze medal.

In a rare missed opportunity, the Tokyo Olympics gold medallist missed his mark on Thursday and it brought an end to his unbeaten record that he had put together this season by virtue of his scintillating performances. He has qualified for the Diamond League finals slated to be organised on September 17 in USA’s Eugene as the Haryana-born has aggregated 23 points from three meets.

Neeraj’s illustrious performances this year include wins at the Diamond League Meeting in Doha on May 5 and Laussane (June 30) before winning the record-shattering gold at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary recording a throw of 88.17 m.

Neeraj’s fitness has remained a concern throughout this season and the star athlete had himself confirmed the same leading into Thursday’s event in a pre-event press conference.

“Because of my groin injury, I didn’t compete too much this year. From May till the world championships, I just did five or six throwing sessions, and not even in full run-up. World Championships was challenging for me, but I was prepared in my mind. The world championships was hard not only on body but mind as well,” Neeraj said.

Another Indian who was in action on Thursday, Murali Sreeshankar, finished at the fifth spot in the men’s long jump event recording a first-round jump of 7.99m.

Sreeshankar managed to get the lead by virtue of his performance in the first round but gradually slipped out of the top-three contention because he could not better his statistics. Murali had earlier failed to qualify for the finals of the World Championships in Budapest.

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