Doha, 17 April 2023 - Olympic javelin champion and world silver medallist Neeraj Chopra – the Indian national record holder with a best of 89.94m – will join world champion Anderson Peters (GRN) and Olympic silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch (CZE) in a much-anticipated javelin competition at the Doha Meeting on Friday 5 May.
Chopra is an inspirational figure and has blazed a trail for Indian athletes throughout his career to date. He 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.
The former Commonwealth Games champion (2018), who improved his lifetime best by almost two metres with a throw of 89.94m for second at last year’s BAUHAUS-Galan in Stockholm, was crowned 2022 Wanda Diamond League champion.
Due to injury, Chopra unfortunately missed the 2022 Doha Meeting. It was an event that presented spectators with a javelin masterclass as two national records were broken, including the fifth-longest throw in history by Grenada’s two-time world champion Peters (93.07m), a mark only just outside Thomas Röhler’s 93.90m impressive meeting record from 2017.
Peters returns for the 2023 edition of the Doha Meeting, alongside Olympic silver medallist Vadlejch – European silver medallist and bronze medallist in Eugene - who also recorded a PB in Doha 2022 with his first ever throw over 90m (90.88m).
Alongside the decorated trio, the Doha Meeting will also welcome European champion Julian Weber (GER), the Olympic and world fourth-place finisher with a best of 89.54m; former Olympic champion and Trinidad & Tobago national record holder Keshorn Walcott (90.16m); and former world and Commonwealth champion and 2016 Olympic silver medallist Julius Yego, the Kenyan record holder (92.72m).
According to an interview with AW (AthleticsWeekly.com), the eight Indian track and field athletes who medalled at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham cited Chopra’s breakthrough achievements as a motivating factor, helping them to believe what was possible. His role in sport goes way beyond competition.
“It’s hugely important for me to inspire my nation and its people,” said the 25-year-old. “I have a constant desire for improvement and I will continue to work hard, as I always have done, in order to achieve that.
“While last year was a good year for me with a new personal best, world silver medal, and the win of the Wanda Diamond League, this year brings new opportunities. My goal for this summer is the World Championships, alongside the Asian Games and the defence of my Wanda Diamond League title. I’m also getting closer to the 90m mark, so it would mean a lot for me to break that barrier.
“I’m always overwhelmed by the warm support I get from Indians across the world and in Qatar that is particularly special, so I’m looking forward to opening my 2023 Wanda Diamond League season in Doha alongside a group of incredible athletes, in front of a passionate crowd.”
The 2023 Wanda Diamond League comprises 14 meetings in total*, starting with Doha at the Qatar Sports Club on 5 May and concluding with a single final across two days in Eugene (16-17 September). Each of the 13 series meetings will be broadcast globally in a live two-hour programme.
*In an update to the 2023 calendar, the Shanghai meeting scheduled for July will no longer take place.