Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra staged a dramatic comeback as he won the Javelin throw event with an 87.66m effort, which he achieved in his fifth and penultimate attempt while his compatriot Long Jumper Murali Sreeshankar finished fifth in his event at the Lausanne Diamond League in Switzerland.
Athletes are awarded points instead of medals for competing in each leg of the Diamond League series. The top eight athletes in each event at the end of all the legs will qualify for the Diamond League Final in Eugene in September.
Defending champion Neeraj who won the javelin throw event at the season-opening Doha leg with an 88.67m attempt in May, chalked out his second successive victory and his attempts read; foul, 83.52m, 85.04m, foul,87.66m, 84.15m
Last year, Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian athlete to become a Diamond League champion by winning the men’s javelin throw grand final in Zurich. “I was feeling a bit nervous coming back from an injury,” Neeraj said. “It was a bit cold here tonight. I am still far from my best, but I feel it is getting better. I am relieved it´s coming together well for me. A win is a win and I will take that happily. “he said after the win
The Lausanne meet was Indian’s second competition of the season and the first since the Doha Diamond League. He had to opt out of three events in June – FBK Games in the Netherlands, Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland and the Ostrava Golden Spike in the Czech Republic – due to a muscle strain he sustained during training.
Meanwhile, Murali Sreeshankar finished fifth in the long jump event with a best effort of 7.88m. His best effort came in his third jump but Bahamas’ LaQuan Nairn and Japan’s Yuki Hashioka’s efforts pushed Sreeshankar down to fifth.
Participating in the Stade Olympique de la Pontaise, Neeraj who holds the javelin national record of 89.94m, fouled his first attempt as Germany’s Julian Weber set the initial mark with an 86.20m throw. The Indian opened his account with an 83.52m effort with his second throw and rose to the third position.
Neeraj threw 85.04m with his third effort to climb up to second but he fouled his fourth attempt. The Indian however managed to take the top spot with an 87.66 mark with his penultimate attempt and it proved enough for him to be atop the leaderboard.
With this top finish Neeraj earned eight more qualification points from the Lausanne leg. With 16 points from two outings, the Indian currently leads the Diamond League qualification rankings in javelin throw.
Weber’s final throw of 87.03m placed him to the second position while Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, the Tokyo Olympics silver medallist and the current world leader, finished third with an 86.13m mark. Reigning world javelin champion Anderson Peters from Grenada (82.23m) endured a difficult outing and finished fifth.
On the other hand ,Long jumper Murali Sreeshankar, who had finished third at the Paris Diamond League 2023 last month with an attempt of 8.09m, logged a modest 7.75m with his first attempt, which put him behind the reigning Olympic and Diamond League champion, Greece’s Miltiadis Tentoglou, and home favourite Simon Ehammer, the 2022 world championships bronze medalist, after the first round.
Commonwealth Games champion, LaQuan Nairn, eventually won the event with a season-best 8.11m effort, upsetting Miltiadis Tentoglou, who could manage 8.07m. Yuki Hashioka (7.98m) and Simon Ehammer (7.97m) finished third and fourth, respectively.
Sreeshankar earned four qualification points for his fifth-place finish and is currently third in the Diamond League 2023 final qualification rankings with 10 points .His attempts in this event : 7.75m, 7.63m, 7.88m, 7.59m, 7.66m.