Fresh from his Commonwealth Games triumph, star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will compete in the season-opening leg of the Diamond League series in Doha on May 4. Neeraj, who won a gold in the Gold Coast CWG with a throw of 86.47m, will be in the midst of a star-studded field with the reigning Olympic champion Thomas Rohler of Germany and his country-mate and world champion Johannes Vetter taking part at the Qatar Sports Club.
2017 World Championship silver medallist and reigning Diamond League champion Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic and world bronze medallist and team-mate Petr Frydrych will also compete in Doha. Also in the mix will be Rio Olympic silver medallist Julius Yego of Kenya.
Last year, Rohler had wowed the crowds in Doha as he threw an incredible 93.90m to move to second on the world all-time list behind world-record holder Jan Zelezny. However, just two months later, 2017 European Athlete of the Year, Vetter overtook Rohler to claim the second world all-time position after he threw 94.44m in Luzern.
The 20-year-old Neeraj has a personal best of 86.487m which he scored while winning the Junior World Championships in 2016, which is also the existing world junior record as well as the national record. His CWG gold-winning effort was just one centimetre below his personal best. He has thrown above 85m three times so far in the season.
Last year, Neeraj had taken part in three legs of the Diamond League series and accumulated six points to end at eighth place in the overall rankings. He had finished fifth and seventh in the Paris and Monaco legs of the series in June and July respectively while he was placed at seventh in Zurich in August.
(With PTI Inputs)