Neeraj Chopra qualifies for 2024 Olympics, enters World Championships final with 88.77m throw

The 2024 Paris Olympics qualifying mark is 85.50m. The qualifying window had opened on July 1

Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra (Photo: NH File Photo)
Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra (Photo: NH File Photo)


Neeraj Chopra needed just one big throw to qualify for 2024 Paris Olympics and the World Championships javelin throw final, pulling off a commendable first-attempt of 88.77m here on Friday.

Not only Chopra but DP Manu (81.31m) and Kishore Jena (80.55m) also made the cut as three Indians qualified the final of an event in the World Championships for the first time ever.

The 2024 Paris Olympics qualifying mark is 85.50m. The qualifying window had opened on July 1.

The 25-year-old Chopra's qualifying round lasted just a few minutes as he sent the spear to his season's best distance in his very first attempt in the Group A qualification round. He topped the qualification round.

Chopra had won a silver in the 2022 World Championships in USA.

With the automatic final qualification mark set for 83m, Chopra, who has a personal best of 89.94m, packed up and left the competition arena without taking any further throw. The final will be held on Sunday.

Those who throw 83m or the top-12 best performers from both Group A and B qualify for the final.

Competing in the same group with Chopra in his debut World Championships, Manu finished third and sixth overall with a best throw of 81.31m which he produced in his second attempt. Manu had won a silver in the Asian Championships in July.

Jena, whose visa was rejected first by the Hungarian embassy in New Delhi before being cleared the next day, ended fifth in Group B and ninth overall with 80.55m. It is also his debut World Championships.

"For the first time three Indians have qualified for the final round of an event in World Championships. It has never happened earlier. It's a historic day for Indian javelin," a team coach in the Indian contingent told PTI.

India first participated in the World Championships in 1983.

A competitor gets three attempts in the qualifying round.

Reigning Commonwealth Games champion Arshad Nadeem of Pakistan also qualified for the 2024 Paris Games with his season best throw of 86.79m.

Nadeem, a bronze medallist in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia where Chopra had won gold, topped Group B and finished second overall.

Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic, who won silver medal behind Chopra in Tokyo Olympics, was second in Group B and third overall with a best throw of 83.50m.

Germany's Julian Weber was fourth overall with a best throw of 82.39m.

Defending champion Anderson Peters of Grenada, who has been struggling for form this season, failed to qualify for the final round after finishing seventh in Group A and 16th overall with a best throw of 78.49m.

A World Championships gold is the only medal missing in Chopra's decorated cabinet and going by the performances of other competitors in the qualification round, the superstar Indian looked primed to achieve the feat and add another milestone in his illustrious career.

He won gold medals in Olympics (Tokyo in 2021), Asian Games (2018) and Commonwealth Games (2018), besides becoming the Diamond League champion last year.

Chopra competed in only two top class competitions this season, winning gold in both of them -- Doha and Lausanne Diamond League Meetings on May 5 and June 30 respectively. He had an injury lay-off of one month in between the two events after straining his muscles while training.

Chopra's World Championships qualifying round campaign on Friday is reminiscent of his performance during the same stage of competition in the last edition of the showpiece event as well as that of Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

On both the occasions, he needed just one throw to qualify for the final, a 88.39m effort in Eugene, USA, in 2022 World Championships and 86.65m in Tokyo.

He won a silver in Eugene and gold medal in Tokyo in the final to script history.

Six track and field athletes have already qualified for the 2024 Olympics before Chopra. Akshdeep Singh, Vikas Singh and Paramjeet Bisht qualified for men's 20km race walk and Priyanka Goswami made the cut for women's 20km race walk.

Long jumper Murali Sreeshankar and 3000m steeplechaser Avinash Sable have also qualified. 

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Published: 25 Aug 2023, 5:32 PM