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Paavo Nurmi Games: Neeraj Chopra faces uphill task against season leader Max Dehning

Neeraj faces stiff competition at the Paavo Nurmi Games, with Dehning ready to challenge the Olympic champion in Finland before the Paris Olympics.

Paavo Nurmi Games: Neeraj Chopra faces uphill task against season leader Max Dehning
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Neeraj Chopra poses for a photograph after winning the Asian Games gold in Hangzhou in 2023. (FILE PHOTO: AP)

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 17 Jun 2024 9:11 AM GMT

Olympic and world champion Neeraj Chopra of India gears up for his third event of the year at the Paavo Nurmi Games starting on 18th June, in Turku, Finland.

This event draws the best of the javelin throw in the world.

Neeraj will look to test himself against the top javelin throwers before the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Neeraj at Paavo Nurmi Games

2022: Chopra won the silver medal with 89.30m, his previous best.

2023: He did not compete due to Injury.

Key Competitors

Neeraj, Anders Peters, and Keshron Walcott are the big names at the event, but all eyes are on 19-year-old Max Dehning of Germany who is ready to surprise his seasoned counterparts. The youngster broke into the elite 90m category with a strong throw of 90.61m this year. He is also the season leader.

Neeraj, who finished second to Jakub Vadlejch at the Doha Diamond League, has not yet achieved a 90m throw in his career. Hence, this event throws a big challenge for him.

His best throw this season remains an average of 88.36m achieved at the Doha DL in May.

The Paavo Nurmi Games are a big test for Neeraj.

On paper, Max Dehning will be the favourite, but the pressure factor may work in Neeraj's favour. The Indian star has the habit of getting the best out of his competitors. With the conditions in Finland likely to be slippery, Neeraj will have the upper hand over Dehning. Germany's Julian Weber is also likely to compete at the event.

Yet, this event promises to produce an exciting encounter, and Neeraj's form will be a good marker of how he will do in the next big events to come.

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