IMAGE: Neeraj Chopra struggled in the windy conditions in the grand finale at the Hayward Field as he fouled his two attempts. Photograph: Alina Smutko/Reuters
Olympic and world champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra failed to defend his Diamond League champion’s title as he finished second with a modest performance of 83.80m in Eugene, US, on Saturday.
The 25-year-old Chopra struggled in the windy conditions in the grand finale at the Hayward Field as he fouled his two attempts. His best throw of the day came in the second attempt. His series read foul, 83.80m, 81.37m, foul, 80.74 and 80.90m.
This was his first below 85m throw of the season. He had qualified for the DL Finals at the third spot. He had won the 2022 DL Finals in Zurich with a throw of 88.44m.
Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic became the Diamond League champion for the third time with a best throw of 84.24m which came in his sixth and final attempt. He was leading the six-man field from the beginning following his first round effort of 84.01m.
Vadlejch, who won bronze in Budapest Worlds and silver in Tokyo Olympics behind Chopra, had also clinched the DL title in 2017 and 2018 also.
This was the same venue where Chopra had finished second in the 2022 World Championships.
The Indian, who has a personal best of 89.94m, won two individual DL meetings in Doha on May 5 and Lausanne on June 30 before clinching a historic gold in the World Championships last month.
He had become only the third javelin thrower in history to hold both the Olympic and World Championships crowns after winning the worlds title in Budapest with a throw of 88.17m.
Just a few days after winning the World Championships title, he competed in the Zurich DL leg on August 31 when he finished second behind Vadlejch.
Chopra will now head to the Hangzhou Asian Games beginning later this month where he will defend the gold he had won in 2018 in Indonesia.