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Neeraj Chopra set to compete at Paavo Nurmi Games in June

Neeraj Chopra will get to test his preparation for the Paris Olympics in Finland as the top javelin throwers of the world will be competing at the Paavo Nurmi Games.

Neeraj Chopra set to compete at Paavo Nurmi Games in June
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Neeraj Chopra flaunting the Indian tir-colour after winning the gold medal at the Asian Games in October 2023. (FILE PHOTO: AP)

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 10 April 2024 1:01 PM GMT

Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, the reigning Olympic champion, will compete at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, scheduled for June 18.

Neeraj, who has been out of competition since the Asian Games in October 2023, where he defended his gold medal, will get to test his preparation for the Paris Olympics as the top javelin throwers of the world will be competing at the World Athletics Continental Tour Gold level event.

However, this is unlikely to be his first meet of the season since his Asian Games feat in Hangzhou, as Neeraj is set to begin his season with his Diamond League title defence in Doha on May 10. Neeraj was the winner of the Doha Diamond League in 2023.

Neeraj, who is also the reigning World Championships gold medallist, will face a tough competition in Turku, with the organising committee putting its best foot forward to make the event "toughest javelin competition of the summer in Turku before the Paris Olympics".

Last year, Neeraj won India's maiden World Championships gold in Budapest with a throw of 88.17m. At the Asian Games, he won the gold medal with an 88.88m throw.

The 26-year-old, however, is yet to achieve the 90m mark. Last year at the Stockholm Diamond League, he came close to achieving the 90m mark but fell short of the mark by 6cm.

The 89.94m throw remained his personal best.

Neeraj has been actively working to improve his technique concerning leg block to breach the 90m mark.

According to his coach Klaus Bartonietz, Chopra threw 90.40 in training a year ago in spring in Turkey at the camp in Belek.

But the athlete himself is nonchalant about the mark. When German youngster Max Dehning threw the javelin at a distance of 90.20 at a German winter meet in February, Neeraj ruled out any pressure.

“What matters to me is staying 100 per cent fit, being consistent during the season and delivering on the day that matters. I think there are mistakes to fix and looking at the increasing competition all around, one has to keep improving. The road will close if you think you have done it all,” he said.

Talking about his performance in 2023, Neeraj said, “I have won medals in two World Championships, threw my personal best (89.94 metres at Stockholm), won a dream Diamond League title and even defended my gold at the Asian Games. All in all, I have been in great space and want to carry forward that momentum from May onwards.”

In 2022, competing at the Paavo Nurmi Games, Neeraj broke his own national record as he registered a best throw of 89.30m to finish behind Finland’s Oliver Helander, the gold medallist. In 2023, Neeraj, however, pulled out of the event.

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