Neeraj Chopra finished second at the Diamond League final at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, with a best throw of 83.80m. It was his second consecutive second-placed finish following the Zurich Diamond League a couple of weeks ago, and it meant that he couldn't defend the Diamond League title that he had won last year. Just like in Zurich, Chopra was only bettered by Jakub Vadlejch, and the difference between the top two was within a metre.
Speaking after the event, Neeraj said, "I still have one more competition, Asian Games in China. In big competitions, I think it's about mindset; in big competitions we don't need to prepare ourselves. When we enter the stadium, our mind is ready, and the body will be ready for the competition. I really like to compete with these guys, all are good friends and we're all competing in a very good way."
In his fifth competition of 2023, Chopra would've known from the start that it wouldn't be a day for long throws, with barely any wind around the arena, on a hot afternoon on the US west coast. In Zurich, Vadlejch's winning mark was 85.86m ahead of Chopra's 85.71m, but here nobody managed to cross the 85m mark.
Vadlejch set the tone early with an 84.01m throw on his first attempt, after a no-mark effort from Chopra. That remained the mark to beat all the way through, until the Czech himself bettered it with his final throw of the afternoon.
Chopra's second throw registered at 83.80m, and remained his best throw of the day, as he didn't cross 82m with his other four attempts.
The Indian Olympic and World champion will be back in action in Hangzhou in a couple of weeks at the Asian Games, where he is likely to renew his rivalry with Pakistan's world championship silver medalist Arshad Nadeem.
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