Diamond League Final 2022: Neeraj Chopra to vie for trophy on September 8

Neeraj Chopra, who won the Lausanne Diamond League title in August, will be the first Indian athlete to compete in the prestigious Diamond Race.

Neeraj Chopra is in action at the men’s javelin throw event in the Diamond League in Lausanne on August 26, 2022.

Neeraj Chopra is in action at the men’s javelin throw event in the Diamond League in Lausanne on August 26, 2022. | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Neeraj Chopra, who won the Lausanne Diamond League title in August, will be the first Indian athlete to compete in the prestigious Diamond Race.

The two-day Diamond League 2022 final event will be held on September 7-8 at Weltklasse in Zurich, where India's star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, the reigning Olympic gold medallist, will be vying for his maiden Diamond Trophy.

The men's javelin throw event will be held on September 8.

The Diamond League is a series of 12 meets that culminate with the final, commonly called the Diamond Race.

The annual athletics series started with the Doha leg on May 13, 2022, and will end with the Brussels leg on September 2. Only the top 15 athletes compete for the title across 32 events.

For the final, however, only the top six athletes are deemed eligible. The rankings for each discipline are decided based on the points they earn in the Diamond League series. Athletes are awarded 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 points according to their positions in an event.

Neeraj's road to final

Neeraj became the first Indian to qualify for the Diamond Race when he topped the Lausanne Diamond League 2022 on August 27.

Currently, the 24-year-old is ranked fourth on the League's standings, behind Jakub Vadlejch (Czech Republic), Julian Weber (Germany), and Andersen Peters (Grenada). Leandro Ramos (Portugal) and Gailums Patriks (Latvia) are the other throwers competing in the event.

Even though Peters pulled out of the event after being attacked last month, Neeraj will face stiff competition from Jakub, the Olympic silver medallist.

Both Peters and Jakub have dominated the men’s javelin field this year and achieved two of the season’s best throws in the Doha Diamond League in May. Peters, the Worlds gold medallist, hurled the javelin to his Personal Best (PB) mark of 93.07m to take the title. Following him in second place, Jakub achieved a 90.88m throw (PB).

Unlike Peters and Jakub, who competed in several competitions from the start of the season, Neeraj ended his break from the track in June in Turku, where he missed a 90m throw by .60m.

In the Stockholm Diamond League, his first major event since Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Neeraj improved his PB to 89.94m but again missed a 90m throw - considered the gold standard in men's javelin throw. Peters, who broke a 16-year-old meet record with a 90.31m throw in his third attempt, topped the podium.

Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian athlete to win a Diamond League title when he clinched the Lausanne meet on August 27, 2022, at the La Pontaise Olympic Stadium. 

Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian athlete to win a Diamond League title when he clinched the Lausanne meet on August 27, 2022, at the La Pontaise Olympic Stadium. 

The Peters-Neeraj duel continued in the World Athletics Championships as well, with the Grenadian pushing the Indian to the second position with a 90.54m throw against the latter's 88.13m.

In August, in his first competition since winning the Worlds silver in July in Eugene, Neeraj braved inconsistent winds in the Lausanne Diamond League at the La Pontaise Olympic Stadium to launch an impressive 89.08m throw in his first attempt. Peters gave the Lausanne meet a miss. The effort was enough for Neeraj to become the first Indian athlete ever to win a Diamond League title.

The throw was also enough for Neeraj to qualify for the World Athletics Championships 2023, to be held in Budapest, Hungary. Jakub finished second with an 85.88m throw.

The men's javelin throw event at the Diamond League final will be held on September 8 - the second and final day of the meet - at 8:20 PM local time (11:50 PM IST).

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