A World Championships gold is the only medal missing from Neeraj Chopra’s well-stocked wardrobe and the superstar Indian javelin thrower will hope so as no clear favorites have emerged ahead of the showpiece starting here on Saturday.

The 25-year-old Chopra has won gold medals at the Olympics (Tokyo in 2021), the Asian Games (2018) and the Commonwealth Games (2018), besides becoming the Diamond League champion last year.

He won the silver medal at the 2022 World Championships in USA and will be one of the gold medal contenders here this time.

If Chopra wins the gold, he will become only the second Indian after shooter Abhinav Bindra to win the yellow metal at the Olympics and World Championships in an individual sport.

Bindra, the first Indian individual event Olympic gold medalist in 2008, also achieved a top podium finish at the 2006 World Championships in Zagreb in the 10m air rifle.

Given the current form of the top javelin throwers, there is no favorite to top the podium after the final on 27 August. The qualification round will be held two days in advance.

Chopra competed in only two top-level events this season, and won gold in both at the Doha and Lausanne Diamond League meetings on 5 May and 30 June, respectively. He was sidelined for a month between the two events due to a hamstring strain he sustained during training.

After about two months of rest and training, Chopra said she is ready for the big event, which is very similar to the Olympics.

Chopra said before the showpiece, “Competing at the highest level against the best athletes in the world and being consistent is definitely challenging. I want to give my best and if that happens, I will come back better than ever.”

“I got injured which caused me to miss some competitions. After that, I returned and participated in the Lausanne Diamond League, where I had a good performance. Since then, everything has been better, and I can focus on my performance and training happy with.” ,

Behind Chopra in Tokyo, silver and bronze medalists at the 2022 World Championships, Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, Germany’s Julian Weber and defending champion Andersen Peters will be among the gold medal contenders.

Chopra’s winning throw of 88.67 m in Lausanne puts him third on the world list, but he enters the World Championships with an unbeaten record. They have also defeated the trio of their rivals – Wadlage, Weber and Peeters – in both Doha and Lausanne.

Wadlejch, 32, has been in top form this season and is the world leader thanks to a throw of 89.51m at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku on 13 June. He also has the fourth and fifth best throw of the year with 88.63m. and 88.38 m.

He completed his preparation for his sixth world championship with a win at the Monaco Diamond League meeting on 21 July.

Weber is second on the world list with a throw of 88.72 m, which earned him the German title on 8 July in Kassel. He defeated Wadledge in Lausanne and was runner-up to Chopra.

Peters is seeking his third title in a row, but has had an inconsistent season, with a personal best of 85.88m to place third on 5 May at the Doha Diamond League – where Chopra won gold – and third in Ostrava. Took a minimum performance of 74.11m. Golden Spike Meet on June 27.

He is entering the World Championships in July with throws of 78.17m and 79.70m in his last two events.

Moreover, he himself has accepted that he is not fully fit after the injury.

Before the showpiece, he said, “I’m back to 75%, but over the next few days I’ll be working… so by the time of the competition, I can be at least 85 to 90%, even better 100%.” Am.”

DP Manu and Kishore Jena are the other two Indians in the men’s javelin throw. Jena’s visa was canceled by the Hungarian Embassy in New Delhi on Thursday but she got the approval on Friday.

In the other events for the Indians, a medal in the men’s long jump is not completely ruled out as Jeswin Aldrin (8.42m) and Murali Sreesankar (8.41m) top the world charts this season.

Aldrin made his spectacular jump in Bellary in early March but since then he has struggled to touch the 8m mark as he also faced fitness issues. Her most recent performance was at the CITIUS meeting in Bern, Switzerland, which she won with 8.22 m.

Sreesankar has been more consistent than Aldrin. He achieved his personal best of 8.41m in Bhubaneswar in June and is entering the World Championships on the back of a silver medalist jump of 8.37m at the Asian Championships in Bangkok.

He finished third in the Paris Diamond League on June 9 with a throw of 8.09m to become the third Indian to finish in the top three at the prestigious event.

Olympic champion Miltiadis Tantoglu (SB: 8.38m) of Greece, who has consistently jumped past the 8m mark this season, will focus on upgrading his silver to gold from the 2022 edition in Budapest.

Other medal contenders include defending champion Wang Jianyan of China (SB: 8.26m), Taipei’s Lin Yu-Tang (SB: 8.40m), Jamaica’s Carrie McLeod (SB: 8.26m) and Wayne Pinnock (SB: 8.37m) and Will be final. The bronze medalist of the edition was Simon Ehmer of Switzerland (SB: 8.32m).

In the men’s 3000m steeplechase, national record holder Avinash Sable will be hoping for a top-class performance in a field packed with star performers. Sable will be in action in the sweltering heat on Saturday.

Ethiopia’s Lamecha Girma will be looking to add a world title to her world record (7 minutes and 52.11 seconds), having won silver medals at the 2019 and 2022 editions of the World Championships as well as the Tokyo Olympics.

Olympic and reigning world champion Soufien El Bakkali of Morocco is expected to take on Girma for the gold medal at the Rabat Diamond League with his personal best of 7:56.68, the second fastest time this year.

India’s campaign will begin on Saturday with three men’s 20km race walkers – Akashdeep Singh, Vikas Singh and Paramjit Singh – but they are not expected to be in the medal category.

The women’s 20km race walk will have no competitors in the country after Bhavna Jat was called back home due to “locator failure”.

The opening day will see Shaili Singh competing in the women’s long jump, Ajay Kumar Saroj in the men’s 1500m heats and the men’s triple jump qualification round, where three Indians – Praveen Chitravel, Abdullah Abubakar and Eldoz Paul – will compete. do.

(Only the headline and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content was auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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