After three years, a period during which he became the Olympic and world champion and also defended his Asian Games gold medal, Neeraj Chopra is set to compete on home soil again.

The 26-year-old Chopra will be the biggest attraction in the javelin throw event during the 27th Federation Cup, which begins at the Kalinga Stadium here on Sunday. The last time he took part in a domestic competition, it was the same event in Patiala three years ago, prior to the Summer Games in Tokyo.

Chopra enters the Federation Cup after finishing second in the Diamond League meeting in Doha with a throw of 88.36m on Friday. However, the fact that his best throw came in the last attempt of his season opener could very well mean that the athlete from Haryana is just warming up and has a lot left in the tank as the preparation for Paris Olympics continues.

Whether he goes full tilt to set a new national record (currently 89.94m) and aims to breach the magical barrier of 90m remains to be seen, given the quick turnaround from Doha.

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Along with Chopra, Kishore Kumar Jena also features in the entry list for javelin. Jena, who hails from Kothasahi, a small hamlet in Puri district of Odisha, surprised everyone when he recorded a massive personal best of 87.54m to not only clinch silver at the Asian Games in Hangzhou last year but also book his spot for Olympics.

The 28-year-old Jena had a disappointing season-opener in Doha, finishing ninth with 76.31m and will hope to do much better in front of home fans.

The presence of Chopra and Jena could be a significant boost for someone like DP Manu, who has a personal best of 84.35m but will look to meet the Olympic qualifying standard of 85.50m.

All eyes on Jeswin

In men’s long jump, all eyes will be on Jeswin Aldrin. With Murali Sreeshankar ruled out of the Olympics due to injury, India currently does not have an automatic qualification for the event. Jeswin, the 22-year-old from Tamil Nadu, set a new national record of 8.42m last year but during the Olympic qualification cycle, which began on July 1, his best effort has been 8.22m – 5cm shorter than the entry standard for Paris.

Jeswin has competed in four meetings in Europe so far this season but failed to cross the 8m mark. The hot conditions here should suit him and help him regain some form.

Like Jeswin, triple jumper Praveen Chithravel too set a new national record of 17.37m last year which came before July. However, Praveen won the Indian Grand Prix-1 (IGP-1) in Bengaluru last month with 17.12m and the 22-year-old needs to better that by 10cm to qualify for Paris, something which is not impossible for the athlete from Tamil Nadu.

While Commonwealth Games gold medallist Eldhose Paul is set to give this event a miss, the presence of Abdulla Aboobacker, the silver medallist from Birmingham, makes triple jump one of the events to watch out.

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The Nayana vs Shaili battle

Another battle to keep an eye on is between Nayana James and Shaili Singh in women’s long jump. Nayana beat Singh with a personal best of 6.67m at the Indian Open Jumps competition in Bengaluru in March but the latter won the IGP-1 with 6.52m. However, for automatic qualification for Paris, the duo needs a jump of at least 6.86m, which is 3cm more than the national record set by Anju Bobby George in Athens in 2004.

Shot Putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor has not crossed the 20m mark this season in the two competitions he has taken part in but now, he returns to the venue where he set a new national record of 21.77m in June last year. After the disappointing campaign in Tokyo Olympics where he could not qualify for the final, the 29-year-old will hope to make amends in Paris and to confirm his spot, he needs at least a throw of 21.50m to meet the entry standard.

Most of the members of both relay teams, which qualified for Paris during the World Relays event in the Bahamas, will be in action in the 400m competition.

Hurdler Jyothi Yarraji, high jumper Tejaswin Shankar and javelin thrower Annu Rani are some of the high-profile athletes whose names do not feature in the entry list for this domestic competition which ends on Wednesday.