Athletics: Neeraj Chopra creates new record, finishes second at Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland

Star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has added another feather to his decorated cap, setting a new national record with a throw of 89.30 metres at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland. 

It was Neeraj’s first competitive event since winning a historic gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Neeraj’s record-breaking throw helped him finish second in the competition. Oliver Helander, the event’s local favourite, topped the list with a throw of 89.83 metres.

Neeraj has a busy schedule ahead. Since the 2022 Asian Games have been postponed, he will concentrate on the Commonwealth Games to be held in Birmingham in August.

He has been training overseas for further improvements in his technique.

“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 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,” the golden boy of India continued.

Neeraj’s previous national record was 88.07m, which he set in March in Patiala last year. A few months later, on August 7, 2021, Neeraj went on to become the first Indian player to win an Olympic gold medal in athletics with a throw of 87.58m. After Abhinav Bindra, he is only the second Indian player to win an individual gold medal in the Summer Games.

Incidentally, Alexey Singh Grewal of the United States had become the first athlete of Indian origin to win an individual Olympic gold medal. In the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games, Alexey Singh Grewal had won the gold in the road race event of the cycling competition. Married to Kamalmani Manjit Kaur of Jabalpur, Alexey Singh now stays in India for long intervals.

In his first attempt, Neeraj reached 86.92m before propelling the spear to 89.30m in his second attempt. The 24-year-old’s next three tries were all fouls. In his sixth and last throw, he threw his spear 85.85 metres.

Neeraj’s best effort of 89.30m in the tournament also helped him to reach the fifth spot on the world season leaders’ list.

Meanwhile, reigning world champion Anderson Peters finished third with a throw of 86.60m.