DP Manu, Neeraj Chopra’s closest competitor at Federation Cup, eyes Paris 2024 spot after miss at Bhubaneswar

Manu, a student of Neeraj’s ex-coach Kashinath Naik, entered the Federation Cup hoping to reach the automatic qualification mark of for Paris Olympics but missed it by 3.44 metres.

Published : May 16, 2024 18:26 IST , BHUBANESWAR - 3 MINS READ

Manu, a student of Neeraj’s ex-coach Kashinath Naik, entered the Federation Cup hoping to reach the automatic qualification mark of 85.50m for the Paris Olympics and opened the competition with a strong throw of 82.06m.
Manu, a student of Neeraj’s ex-coach Kashinath Naik, entered the Federation Cup hoping to reach the automatic qualification mark of 85.50m for the Paris Olympics and opened the competition with a strong throw of 82.06m. | Photo Credit: K.R Deepak / The Hindu
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Manu, a student of Neeraj’s ex-coach Kashinath Naik, entered the Federation Cup hoping to reach the automatic qualification mark of 85.50m for the Paris Olympics and opened the competition with a strong throw of 82.06m. | Photo Credit: K.R Deepak / The Hindu

For close to an hour, on a humid Wednesday evening at the Kalinga Stadium, it seemed as if Olympic and World Champion Neeraj Chopra’s first men’s javelin throw final on home soil in three years would result in an unlikely win for DP Manu.

Manu, a student of Neeraj’s ex-coach Kashinath Naik, entered the Federation Cup hoping to reach the automatic qualification mark of 85.50m for the Paris Olympics and opened the competition with a strong throw of 82.06m.

Neeraj, competing less than a week after the Doha Diamond League, fell marginally short with 82m. Neither could better Manu’s first throw and occupied the top two spots till the third round.

The 26-year-old Neeraj bounced back with an 82.27m throw in the fourth round and decided he had had enough, considering his busy schedule, leading up to the Summer Games.

Manu, two years his junior, produced an 81.47m effort but followed it up with two foul throws to eventually finish second. Kashinath felt everything went downhill for Manu after his first attempt.

Karnataka’s Manu DP (right), silver medallist in men’s javelin throw, along with his coach Kashinath Naik (left) during the 27th Federation Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.
Karnataka’s Manu DP (right), silver medallist in men’s javelin throw, along with his coach Kashinath Naik (left) during the 27th Federation Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: Nihit Sachdeva
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Karnataka’s Manu DP (right), silver medallist in men’s javelin throw, along with his coach Kashinath Naik (left) during the 27th Federation Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: Nihit Sachdeva

“His technique was proper in the opening round. After that, despite his 100 percent effort, the timing, the angle of release and the line of propulsion was off and he could not produce a good throw,” the 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist told Sportstar.

The first throw had raised Kashinath’s hopes of Manu recording better attempts in the following rounds.

“The way he executed that first throw, I thought he would cross 86-87m, something which he has been doing in practice, or achieve a new Personal Best,” said the 40-year-old.

RELATED: Neeraj edges past DP Manu to win javelin throw gold, Kishore Jena falters

Manu’s Personal Best of 84.35m came two years ago at the National Inter-State Championships in Chennai. Since then, he has impressed with a silver medal at the Asian Athletics Championships (81.01m) and a sixth-place finish at the World Championships (84.14m) last season.

With the Olympic qualification cycle ending on June 30, Manu might have to rely on grabbing one of the 25 available ranking quotas to join compatriots Neeraj and Kishore Jena for the javelin throw at Paris.

“Manu’s next event will be the Taiwan Athletics Open, set to be held on June 1-2, which is a Bronze level event on the World Athletics Continental Tour and awards crucial ranking points,” Kashinath added.

“He is ninth [10th] in the Road to Paris Rankings but we will try to get the automatic qualification done in the upcoming events.”

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