Neeraj, Rohit, Eldhose qualify for World Athletics Championships final

Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra needed just one throw to qualify for the javelin throw final at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

India’s Neeraj Chopra competing in qualifications for the men’s javelin throw at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon on Thursday.

India’s Neeraj Chopra competing in qualifications for the men’s javelin throw at the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon on Thursday. | Photo Credit: AP

Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra needed just one throw to qualify for the javelin throw final at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon.

Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra needed just one throw to qualify for the javelin throw final at the World Athletics Championships in Oregon on Thursday, a day when three Indians made it to the main round.

Just like the Tokyo Olympics where he flew to the final with his first throw, Chopra produced a massive 88.39m opening effort in the qualification round to top Group ‘A’. There was double joy for India with Rohit Yadav pulling off a big surprise to finish sixth (11th overall) in Group ‘B’ with 80.42m and also progress to Saturday’s (Sunday morning in India) 12-man final.

This is the first time India will have two javelin throwers in the final at the Worlds. Chopra finished second overall in the qualification round with Grenada’s defending World champion Anderson Peters’ 89.91m (Group B) taking him to the top of the pack.

SHOOK A BIT, SAYS CHOPRA

“It was a good start. I’ll give my 100% in the final. We’ll see. Every day is different,” said Chopra after the qualifiers.

“We don't know who can throw far on any given day. There are so many throwers in good shape now. Five-six throwers have thrown PBs (personal bests) this year. They are all in excellent shape. There is a little bit of zigzag in my run-up. I shook a little bit, but it was a good throw.”

FOUR ASIANS IN FINAL

Incidentally four Asians qualified for the final, the others being Japan’s Roderick Genki Dean and Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem with both producing their season bests.

But some big names, including 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallist Julius Yego, former Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott and Andreas Hofmann (no mark), who had many 90m-plus throws in 2018, crashed out.

PAUL SURPRISES

A little later, Eldhose Paul made it a wonderful day for the country by entering the men’s triple jump final, grabbing the 12th and last spot (he was sixth in Group ‘A’) from the qualification round with his 16.68m.

That makes Paul, who is yet to cross 17m, the first Indian to enter the triple jump final at the Worlds. However Abdulla Aboobacker (personal best 17.19m) and Praveen Chithravel (PB 17.18), the two men who had produced the second and third biggest jumps in India’s all-time list this year, could not come anywhere close to that today and failed to qualify.

Chithravel finished 17th with 16.49 while Aboobacker was 19th with 16.45.

Defending World champion American Christian Taylor, the 2016 and 2012 Olympic gold medallist, was the biggest name to miss the final after finishing behind Chithravel in the 18th spot with 16.48.

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