Neeraj Chopra, the Olympic champion, finished in the top three at the prestigious Diamond League Meeting on Thursday in Stockholm despite just missing the 90-meter mark in front of a star-studded field.
The 89.94-meter javelin throw by 24-year-old Chopra, which was just 6 cm short of the 90-meter mark, which is the industry standard, proved to be his greatest throw.
His other throws included lengths of 84,37, 87,46, 84,77, 86,67, and 86,84 meters. He broke his previous national mark of 89.30m, which he had achieved on June 14 in Turku, Finland, during the Paavo Nurmi Games, where he came in second.
Anderson Peters of Grenada, the reigning world champion and leader of the season, won the event with a best throw of 90.31 meters, which he produced on his third try.
This season, he has thrown distances of 90 meters or over twice: 93.07 meters when he won the Diamond League leg in Doha last month, and 90.75 meters in Hengelo, the Netherlands.
With a fifth-round throw of 89.08 meters, German competitor Julian Weber came in third. Olympic silver medalist from Tokyo Jakub Vadlejch (88.59 meters) came in fourth.
Vitezslav Vesely, a third Czech athlete and bronze medalist in the Tokyo Olympics, finished seventh in the eight-man competition with 82.57m.
In Turku, where the Grenada-born athlete finished third, and at the Kuortane Games, also in Finalnd, where the Indian superstar won gold with a best throw of 86.69m in slick and rainy circumstances, Chopra defeated Peters both times this month.
With his opening throw, Chopra gave fans optimism that he would make history by being the first Indian to triumph in a Diamond League competition. Nevertheless, he followed discus thrower Vikas Gowda as the second Indian to place in the top three of a Diamond League tournament.
Gowda, a gold medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games who retired in 2017, achieved four career top-three finishes in Diamond League competitions. In New York in 2012, Doha in 2014, and Shanghai and Eugene in 2015, he had placed second and third, respectively.
Following his fourth-place performance in Zurich in August of last year, Chopra was competing in the Diamond League for the first time in four years. Seven Diamond League meets—three in 2017 and four in 2018—have seen him compete.
Chopra’s largest competition before the World Championships, which will take place in Eugene, Oregon, from July 15–24, is a famous one-day meet in the Swedish capital.
The javelin throw will be part of the schedule for the next Diamond League Meeting on August 10 in Monaco.