Neeraj Chopra Bags Gold With 86.69 At Kuortane Games

| Updated: June 19, 2022 9:26 am

Neeraj Chopra won the gold medal at the Kuortane Games in Finland on Saturday with a best throw of 86.69m. Neeraj Chopra’s 86.69 first and final legal throw enough for gold. The wet, slippery conditions at Kuortane Games posed a challenge as Neeraj Chopra did slip once.

The Olympic champion survived a seemingly-dangerous fall, braved a slippery runway and dealt with wet conditions to record his first win of the season, finishing on top in an eight-man field in Kuortane, Finland, on Saturday.

A win in his second competition since the Tokyo Games will give Chopra further affirmation that his return is going as planned, especially given the tricky conditions he had to navigate. The 24-year-old managed just one legal throw, which travelled a distance of 86.69m, off his first attempt. However, it turned out to be enough.

Trinidad’s Keshorn Walcott came the closest, with an effort of 86.64 that raised hopes of an exciting duel, but it stayed just the initial skirmish. This was followed by reigning World Champion Anderson Peters, who has a season-best of 93.06m, falling not too far behind with his opening throw of 84.75m. Chopra was last among the trio to step on the runway but hopes of fiery competition, following his 86.69m opener, were dampened as the javelin throwers refrained from going all out owing to the conditions following incessant rains in the build-up to the event.

The situation looked tricky for the athletes even before the competition began, with puddles forming around the track, thus hampering the run-up. Home-favourite Oliver Helander, who had won the Paavo Nurmi Games earlier in the week ahead of Chopra, chose to pull out of the event at the last minute.

The scores fell collectively in the subsequent rounds for all throwers, with Chopra fouling his second and third attempts. In fact, he suffered a nasty slip on the runway after releasing the javelin during his third throw. In the follow-through, Chopra slipped, lost his balance and fell sideways on his left.

Not willing to take further risks, Chopra decided against competing further. He passed on his fourth throw, packing his shoes and returning to the bench. He did not attempt the fifth and sixth throws as well. That was true for Walcott and Peters as well, who finished second and third respectively.

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