Neeraj Chopra has broken the national record. Again. 27 times he has done it now since first breaking it in 2016. Twenty seven. By now we've kind of gotten used to the idea that every time he steps out to throw a javelin in competition, a new record will appear.
On a bright Thursday evening in Stockholm at the Diamond League, Chopra sprinted out for the very first throw of the competition, hurled himself to the floor and the javelin to a point exactly 89.94m away. New national record, check. Inching ever closer to that golden 90m mark, check. Six centimeters now separate him from an elite milestone.
But in a not-so gentle reminder of just how intensely competitive men's javelin is, that wasn't enough for the Olympic champion to top the Diamond League event at Stockholm. Andersen Peters, reigning World Champion, took the glory, his winning throw: 90.31m. It was Peters' second 90m+ throw of the season, after the monstrous 93.07 at the Doha Diamond League. With Peters looking in peak form, the upcoming World Championships in Oregon, USA and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England promise to be nail-bitingly close. A proper test for Chopra.
What will please Chopra, though, is his consistency. The Stockholm leg of the 2022 Diamond League was just his third event since his heroics at the Tokyo Olympics. He needed time to get back to that level of fitness and physicality. And now that he is back, he has been throwing better than ever before. Rust? Pshaw.
- Wanda Diamond League (@Diamond_League) June 30, 2022
On his return at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland, he threw 89.02m: another personal best and national record, another second place finish). A few days later at the Kuortane Games in the same nation, he threw 86.69m to win the event. In Sweden now, he had throws of 89.94m, 84.37m, 87.46m, 84.77m, 86.67m and 86.84m. A sustained graph.
Now he moves on to join his Indian teammates at Chula Vista, California for training. Grom where he will move onto Oregon for the World Championships, his biggest challenge for now, and then fly over to Birmingham to defend his Commonwealth crown. He does so in the knowledge that he's en-route to doing exactly what he wanted to do this year - bettering himself again and again, and getting ever closer to that 90m mark.