Neeraj Chopra, Olympic champion made athletics history in Lausanne, becoming the first Indian to win a Diamond League event. The 24-year-old javelin thrower who won the silver at the World Championships in the USA last month - also a first for the country - opened with an impressive 89.08m and that turned out to be the winning throw in the end.
The victory helped Neeraj to qualify for the Diamond League finals in Zurich next month. Neeraj, who skipped the recent Commonwealth Games in Birmingham with an injury, had three valid throws (85.18 in second and 80.04 in sixth) in the event after passing his third and fifth attempts. Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, the Tokyo Olympic silver medallist who began as the top seed in Lausanne with a season best of 90.88m, finished second 85.88 while American Curtis Thompson was third with 83.72.
Neeraj said after the event “I am delighted with my result. 89m is a great performance. I am specially pleased as I am coming back from an injury and tonight was a good indicator that I have recovered well. I had to skip Commonwealth Games due to injury and I was a bit nervous. Tonight, has given me a lot of confidence to finish the season on a high, with a strong performance in Zurich DL Final.”
Neeraj qualified for the Diamond League finals in Zurich on September 7 and 8, and also became the first Indian to do so. Despite the win, he remained on fourth spot with 15 points - with the addition of eight points. The top six after the Lausanne leg qualify for the Zurich finals. He also qualified for the 2023 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary by breaching the 85.20m qualifying mark. He had finished second in the Stockholm leg of the prestigious event behind Peters with a national record throw of 89.94m, just 6cm short of the 90m mark, the gold standard in the world of javelin throw.