2023 Zurich Diamond League: Neeraj Chopra misses first position by millimetres
Neeraj Chopra said, "I feel very good now because everyone is a little tired after the World Championships. We gave our 100 per cent there. But for this competition, my focus was to just stay healthy. We have to focus now on Eugene (Diamond League Final) and then the Asian Games."
Neeraj Chopra's golden streak in the 2023 season came to an end a week after clinching the world championship title when the javelin thrower secured the second position in the men's javelin throw event at the 2023 Zurich Diamond League held in Switzerland on Friday. Chopra's best performance during the event was marked by a throw of 85.71m, achieved with his final attempt. The top spot was claimed by Jakub Vadlejch from the Czech Republic, who recorded a distance of 85.86m. It's worth noting that Neeraj Chopra's personal best throw stands at 89.94m, establishing a national record.
Prior to the Zurich competition, the Indian javelin throw sensation had triumphed in the Diamond League events in Doha and Lausanne, followed by a historic gold medal win at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest. Reflecting on his performance, Neeraj Chopra stated, "I feel very good now because everyone is a little tired after the World Championships. We gave our 100 per cent there. But for this competition, my focus was to just stay healthy. We have to focus now on Eugene (Diamond League Final) and then the Asian Games."
"For me, the focus was just to stay healthy and to give my 100 per cent in my next competitions," added the Indian athlete. "Sometimes we need to listen to our bodies. Today, I feel okay, I am 100 per cent okay, but I did not push too much. Sometimes, our top priority is to maintain our health. Today, I gave it my best, but still with the focus on staying healthy."
Taking place on a clear night at the Letzigrund Stadium, the same venue where he secured the 2022 Diamond League championship, Neeraj Chopra began with a modest throw of 80.79m. After fouling his second and third attempts, he managed to achieve a distance of 85.22m with his fourth throw, securing the second position behind Jakub Vadlejch, who registered 85.86m with his fourth throw. Despite a foul on his fifth attempt, Neeraj Chopra entered the three-way sixth-round showdown with Jakub Vadlejch, the silver medalist from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, and Julian Weber from Germany, the reigning European champion. Following a foul by Vadlejch, Neeraj Chopra launched an 85.71m throw, falling just 0.15m short of Vadlejch's leading mark, while Julian Weber achieved a solid 84.92m.
Neeraj Chopra's performance summary at the Zurich Diamond League 2023: 80.79m, No mark, No mark, 85.22m, No mark, 85.71m
In the Diamond League series, athletes earn points rather than medals for their participation in each leg. The top six athletes in each event at the end of all the legs qualify for the Diamond League Final scheduled to take place in Eugene in September. Neeraj Chopra had already secured his place in the finals before the Zurich meet.