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19/06/24 | 12:57 pm

Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra bags gold at Paavo Nurmi Games

Neeraj Chopra, India’s celebrated javelin thrower, reaffirmed his dominance by securing the gold medal at the Paavo Nurmi Games 2024 athletics meet in Turku, Finland.

Chopra, who holds the Indian men’s national record with a personal best throw of 89.94m, delivered a standout performance with a throw of 85.97m during his third attempt, claiming the top spot on the podium.

The silver medal went to Finland’s Toni Keranen, achieving a personal best with an 84.19m throw, while his compatriot Oliver Helander, who had denied Chopra the gold two years ago, settled for bronze with a throw of 83.96m. Grenada’s two-time world champion Anderson Peters finished fourth with an 82.58m throw.

As the reigning world and Olympic champion, Chopra’s victory in Turku marked his third event of the year. He began his season with a commendable second-place finish at the Doha Diamond League on May 10, recording an 88.36m throw. 

Subsequently, he secured a gold medal at the Federation Cup in Bhubaneswar with a throw of 82.27m, marking his return to competition in India since his Olympic triumph.

Chopra was slated to compete at the Ostrava Golden Spike athletics meet in Czechia last month but withdrew as a precaution due to a muscle tweak during training.

At the Paavo Nurmi Games 2024, Chopra’s throws were: 1. 83.62m; 2. 83.45m; 3. 85.97m; 4. 82.21m; 5. X; 6. 82.97m.

Returning to action in Turku, the Tokyo 2020 gold medallist started strongly with an 83.62m throw, leading the first series before being overtaken by Helander in the next round. However, a remarkable 85.97m throw in the third series propelled Chopra back to the top position, maintaining his lead until the end.

In the same event, Germany’s Max Dehning, the youngest javelin thrower to breach the 90m mark at just 19 years old, finished seventh in the eight-man field with a throw of 79.84m. Dehning had previously set a world-leading mark of 90.20m in Halle in February.

Meanwhile, London 2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago produced a season’s best throw of 81.93m, securing sixth place in Turku.

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