Eugene: Indian ace Neeraj Chopra reached the final of the World Athletics Championships 2022 javelin throw competition after producing an impressive throw of 88.39 metres in Round 1 and topping Group A of the qualification round, here.
Placed in Group A at Hayward Field, Neeraj, the reigning Olympic champion Neeraj, recorded an 88.39m throw in his first attempt to breach the qualifying mark and didn’t take his second and third attempts on Thursday.
Notably, the qualifying cut for the Oregon 2022 men’s javelin throw competition was set at 83.50m or the 12 best performers.
Neeraj, who set a national record of 89.94 metres en route to a silver medal at the Stockholm Diamond League earlier this year, set the tone in Group A with an 88.39 metre throw in his very first attempt. This was the third-best throw Neeraj Chopra has recorded in his career.
The Tokyo Olympics champion had failed to get past the qualifying round at the 2017 Worlds in London, his debut World Championships. He missed the 2019 World Championships in Doha due to an injury.
Tokyo silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch was the only other javelin thrower in Group A to breach the qualifying mark with an 85.23-metre effort, which also came in his first throw.
Later in the day, Neeraj’s compatriot Rohit Yadav also joined the reigning Olympic champion in the final from Group B. With a best throw of 80.42m, Rohit finished sixth in his group and 11th overall to make the 12-man final field.
Before Neeraj and Rohit, Davinder Singh Kang was the only Indian male javelin thrower to qualify for a World Championships javelin final. Kang finished 12th at London 2017.
Meanwhile, reigning world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada topped Group B and the final list of qualifiers with an 89.91m throw, pushing the 24-year old Chopra to second in the overall leaderboard.
Germany’s Julian Weber (87.28m) also met the automatic qualification mark from Group B. Pakistan’s javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem (81.71m) made the final after placing ninth overall. London 2012 gold medallist Keshorn Walcott was the upset of the day. The Trinidad and Tobago athlete could only record an underwhelming 78.87m best throw to finish 16th and missed the cut.