Doha Diamond League: Strong field for Neeraj

Diamond League season-opener has three of the top five throwers in history.

Neeraj Chopra won a gold medal in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.   -  Getty Images

With three of the top five javelin throwers in history, under-20 World champion Neeraj Chopra will be up against a very strong field in the Diamond League season-opener in Doha on Friday.

The field includes World champion Johannes Vetter, the second best thrower in history with last year’s 94.44m, and his German country-mate Thomas Rohler, the Olympic champion whose personal best 93.90m came in the Doha Diamond League last year. Also in the fray is Kenyan Julius Kenyan Yego, the Rio Olympic silver medallist and 2015 World champion.

Yego, however, is not in great shape this season after last year’s injury.

Four of the ten javelin throwers in Doha have produced 90m-plus throws earlier while three others have personal bests which are better than Chopra’s 86.48m.

However, Asian champion Chopra is one of the few to have started his competitive season early and his 86.47m, which came while winning the recent Commonwealth Games gold in Gold Coast, makes him the second-best thrower in the world this season, behind Vetter’s 92.70m.

Chopra was just a centimetre away from his personal best in Gold Coast and one can expect him to better it in Doha. A top-five finish would be a very creditable achievement and anything above that would be a huge bonus.

But this is early season, so there could be some big surprises too.

The 10 in the fray (with country and personal bests): Johannes Vetter (Ger, 94.44m). Thomas Rohler (Ger, 93.90m), Julius Yego (Ken, 92.72m), Andreas Hoffman (Ger, 91.07m), Jakub Vadlejch (Cze, 89.73m), Petr Frydrych (Cze, 88.32m), Kirt Magnus (Est, 86.65m),  Neeraj Chopra (Ind, 86.48m), Magour Bader Ahmed (Qat, 85.23m), Hamish Peacock (Aus, 84.39m).