Neeraj to begin season with Doha Diamond League, Jena set to make DL debut

Reigning Olympic and world champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will begin his season in the Doha leg of the prestigious Diamond League series on May 10 in a star-studded field.

Published : Mar 28, 2024 19:35 IST , New Delhi - 2 MINS READ

Neeraj Chopra in action. (File Photo)
Neeraj Chopra in action. (File Photo) | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Neeraj Chopra in action. (File Photo) | Photo Credit: Getty Images

India’s Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra will make a welcome return to the Doha leg of the Diamond League series on 10 May alongside compatriot Kishore Jena, who is set to make his League debut.

Chopra was the first Indian track and field athlete to set a world record (under-20) when he threw 86.48m to win the 2016 World U20 Championships, which was also the first time an Indian athlete had won a global track and field title.

He won javelin gold at the 2018 Asian Games, the first Indian athlete to do so, and made history in Tokyo when he became the country’s first Olympic gold medallist in track and field. That trend continued at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest when he became the first athlete from India to strike gold. 

“This year, my personal goal is to defend my Olympic title, but it would also mean a lot to me to break the 90m barrier. The Doha Meeting, with good conditions and a great atmosphere, is a perfect opportunity to get my season off to the best start,“ the Commonwealth and Asian Games champion told the Diamond League website.

Chopra set the tone for his 2023 gold medal-winning summer with victory in the opening meeting of the Wanda Diamond League in Doha ahead of former world champion Anderson Peters and Olympic and world medallist Jakub Vadlejch.

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The trio will be joined at the Qatar Sports Club by European champion Julian Weber; World Championships finalist Oliver Helander; Qatari record holder Ahmed Bader Magour; World University Games champion Edis Matusevicius ; Asian Games bronze medallist Roderick Genki Dean; Olympic finalist Andrian Mardare; and Pan American Games champion Curtis Thompson .

“I’m always overwhelmed by the warm support I get from Indians across the world and in Qatar that is particularly special. I feel privileged that so many people come out to support me and I hope I can repay their faith in me with a good performance, “ added Chopra.

Chopra’s continued excellence has raised the bar for Indian athletes and for the first time in his country’s history, he was joined in the World Championships final by two of his teammates, Jena and DP Manu. 

“Last year my dream was to win the World Championships, but to have three Indian athletes competing in the final - that shows we’re progressing as a nation,” said the 26-year-old. 

The Doha Meeting is the third meeting of the 2024 Diamond League. The first two meetings in Xiamen and Shanghai do not have men’s javelin throw as Diamond League event. 

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