Doha Diamond League: Neeraj Chopra says he feels he could have pushed more even in the last throw

    Neeraj Chopra is seen during the Doha Diamond League.
    | Photo Credit: AP

    Two centimetres. That’s less than an inch, 1/3rd of an average index finger. That was the margin of victory for Jakub Vadlejch in the Doha Diamond League on Friday night, the Czech javelin thrower pushing Olympic and world champion Neeraj Chopra to second spot.

    In the previous edition here, Neeraj had pipped Vadlejch by 4cm for top spot. He had done the same at the 2022 World Championships, this time taking silver.

    At the forefront

    And while the likes of Anderson Peters have massive throws against their names, it’s these two who have been at the forefront of the world javelin for the past few years, their consistency separating them from the rest.

    On Friday too, Vadlejch had four throws over 84m with two fouls. Neeraj had the same, except with one foul and one 82m mark. It’s this consistency that Neeraj has been keen to maintain even though he admitted he didn’t feel great out on the field, for reasons unknown.

    “Overall I thought it could have been better but the best thing is the consistency. My warm-up throw was really good but the first throw went bad. More importantly, the body didn’t feel very good, I don’t know why, but I still managed an 88m-plus throw,” he reflected after the event.

    The 27-year old, however, isn’t too perturbed going forward. “We will prepare better for future competitions. But if I could throw 88m without feeling too good, I want to test myself and see how much I can manage when everything is right. There will be at least three or four more competitions before Paris but such contests help us push each other,” he insisted.

    Better effort

    The one thing Neeraj wasn’t happy about was his effort, which by his own admission was less than optimum. “I am satisfied with my performance but perhaps not with my effort, I feel I could have pushed more even in the last throw. It’s good that this is the first competition of the season, there is still time. Now we know what to do, we will work on it,” he admitted.

    Jakub, meanwhile, was more forthcoming. “I think we are rivals but also, I hope, good friends. Today’s 2cm victory is a little revenge for the previous year. But the main goal is Paris. Next up will be Golden Spike (in Ostrava), next chance to try and beat him,” he laughed.

    It’s a challenge Neeraj is more than willing to accept. “Challenge accepted, I am always ready for a good battle. Next time, it won’t be just 2cm but much more, in our favour,” he signed off.

    If I could throw 88m without feeling too good, I want to test myself and see how much I can manage when everything is right

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