Neeraj Chopra dazzles with gold at Paavo Nurmi Games

Turku (Finland): India’s Olympic and world champion javelin throw star Neeraj Chopra claimed his maiden gold medal at the Paavo Nurmi Games here on Tuesday, dominating a stellar field on his return to competitive action following a month-long break.

Chopra, who claimed the silver here in 2022, produced the winning effort of 85.97m in his third attempt to lead the field for a major part of the competition.

The Indian proved himself heads and shoulders above much-hyped 19-year-old German prodigy Max Dehning, who came here as the youngest member of the 90m club but finished a disappointing seventh in the eight-strong field.

This was Chopra’s third event of the season as he missed the Ostrava Golden Spike athletics meet in Czechia last month as a precautionary measure due to an injury. However, Neeraj Chopra’s performance in Finland has reaffirmed his top form as he prepares for the Paris Olympics next month. His best throw of 85.97m, achieved on his third attempt, was enough to win the gold medal.

Chopra began the event with a strong throw of 83.62m, leading after the first round. In the second round, Finland’s Oliver Helander temporarily took the lead with a throw of 83.96m. However, Chopra reclaimed the top spot in the third round with his 85.97m throw. His jubilant reaction following the throw highlighted his satisfaction and confidence.