He saved his best for the last but for once, it just wasn’t enough. Neeraj Chopra, on Friday night, was in the unfamiliar position of playing catch up as Czech Jakub Vadlejch set the mark early on and managed to stay ahead all through, finishing on top at the Doha Diamond League here with a best throw of 88.38m to push himself into second spot, just two centimetres behind with 88.36m.

Chopra, participating in his first competition this year as he kicks off his Olympic gold defence, looked comfortable but not at his best. For someone known for his ‘one and done’ performances, starting with a foul throw was not ideal. It was similar to his situation at the Asian Games last year but here, the competition was different.


Vadlejch, who already had an 87m throw earlier this year, started with an 85.87, while Chopra improved over the next two attempts. the Czech was in no mood to relent this time around. 


1st attempt – X

2nd attempt – 84.93m

3rd attempt – 86.24m

4th attempt – 86.18m

5th attempt – 82.28m

6th attempt – 88.36m (Season Best)

Chopra, who has often claimed it wasn’t over till the last throw, proved why he rates consistency so highly. While Jakub fouled his final attempt, Chopra pushed himself all the way in his 6th attempt but fell agonisingly short of the mark.

The other Indian in the fray Kishore Kumar Jena, in his Diamond League debut, was unable to get anywhere close to his best, bowing out after the first three attempts and a best throw of only 76.31m. Jena had already said his main target was to get used to the field ahead of the Paris Olympics but he would be disappointed with not being able to cross the 80m mark.

On the Long Jump pit, Greek reigning Olympic and World champion Miltiadis Tentoglou steadily improved with every jump but could only end up second with a best of 8.36m in his final attempt, behind Jamaican Corey McLeod who left the field behind with a massive 8.52m in his fourth attempt.

Not all favourites struggled, though. The men’s 400m Olympic champion Steven Gardiner, who had to pull out of the World Championships last year with injury and only made his return earlier this year, took the top spot in 44.76 seconds, ahead of Zambia’s Muzala Samukonga (45.07s). The men’s 200m was an all-American affair, led by Kenneth Bednarek in 19.67 seconds – again a World Lead, Meet Record and personal best.


Javelin Throw: Jakub Vadlejch (Cze, 88.38m), Neeraj Chopra (Ind, 88.36m), Panderson Peters (Grenada., 86.62)

Men: 200m: Kenneth Bednarek (USA, 19.67s), Courtney Lindsey (USA, 20.01), Kyree King (USA, 20.21); 

400m: Steven Gardiner (Bah, 44.76s), Muzala Samukonga (Zam, 45.07), Leungo Scotch (Bot, 45.29); 

Long Jump: Corey McLeod (Jam, 8.52m), Miltiadis Tentoglou (Gre, 8.36m), Simon Ehammer (Sui, 8.30m);