Neeraj Chopra javelin

Sports, July 22: All it took Neeraj Chopra was 12 seconds on Friday as the Olympic champion eased his way into the men’s javelin final of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene. Neeraj comfortably crossed the automatic qualification mark set at 83.50m in his very first attempt in the Group A qualification round.

Chopra kicked off the qualification proceedings on Friday and put his name up for the final event with a massive throw of 88.39m.

As per the qualification norms, participants who clear 83.50m or 12 best performers across two qualification round groups qualify for the final. The 88.39m throw was however Chopra’s third-best attempt of all time.

Olympic silver-medallist, Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, also qualified for the final with his first-attempt throw of 85.23m. Chopra and Vadlejch were the only participants from Group A to seal automatic qualification for the final round which will be held on Sunday.

Also Read: Watch girls from Arunachal Pradesh singing in Tamil musicals

This is the first time that Chopra has qualified for the World Championship final. In 2017, he failed to make the qualification mark and in 2019 he missed the event owing to his recovery from an elbow injury.

Chopra now enters the final as among the favorites to bag a medal in the event after a superb run of form in the discipline over the last few weeks.

He made a stunning return to action in June at the Paavo Nurmi Games, his first event since claiming the historic Tokyo Olympic gold. He had made a national record throw of 89.30m but finished second behind reigning Olympic champion Anderson Peters.

Three days later, he finished top of the podium with an 86.89m in the slippery conditions at the Kuortane Games. And in the Stockholm Diamond League event later that month, he broke his own national record with a personal best of 89.94m.

Chopra however has his eyes on the big 90m mark which two of his competitors – Peters (93.07m) and Vadlejch (90.88m) – have already crossed this year.

“I was 6cm short of the 90m mark, I was pretty close. I hope to cross 90m this year. But I never think or focus on distance going into a competition. I just try to give my 100 percent,” Chopra said in a virtual interaction from Eugene before the event on Friday.