After Kourtane success, Neeraj Chopra eyes elusive podium finish at the Stockholm Diamond League

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After a successful outing at the Kourtane Games in Finland, India’s Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra is being primed for a podium finish at the prestigious Diamond League competition in Stockholm on Thursday, 30 June.

Chopra won the Kourtane games under treacherous conditions, slipping on his winning throw awkwardly under heavy rainfall. However, he got up quickly to reassure everyone watching and ended up clinching the gold medal with the same throw.

This would be Chopra’s first appearance in the Diamond League since 2018, where he is yet to win a medal. The 24-year-old has competed in the event seven times, managing his best at fourth position back in 2018.

“We started training in December, so it was a bit late. I needed to get fit again as my weight had also increased after the Tokyo Games,” Chopra said during a pre-event press conference.

“I had gained 13kg-14kg, so the plan was to get fit again and hence we started the season a bit late.

“Our main target this year are the World Championship and Commonwealth Games as the Asian Games has been postponed,” he added.

The prestigious one-day meet at the Swedish capital will be Chopra’s biggest event ahead of the World Championships in Eugene, USA, next month. He will also be facing the toughest field of the season so far with all the three Tokyo Olympics medallists in fray.

Chopra’s closest competition at the moment, Germany’s Johannes Vetter, who has shaken up the athletics world with the maximum number of 90-plus throws among the active throwers, is on the sidelines and would not take a part in the event.

After winning gold at Kuortane, where he had been training, Chopra has shifted to Uppsala, less than 100km from Stockholm, reported news agency PTI. It further stated that Chopra would not be taking part in any event after the Diamond League and before the July 15-24 World Championships.

WHEN AND WHERE TO WATCH?

Neeraj Chopra’s event can be watched live on Sports18 channel on TV or can be live streamed at Voot App, 11:30 PM onwards.

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