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Aug 25 – Reigning Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra kicked off his World Athletics Championships campaign in spectacular fashion, qualifying for the men’s javelin throw final with a season best of 88.77m and securing qualification for the 2024 Paris Olympics here on Friday.
Chopra broke the Paris Olympic qualification mark of 85.50m with a season-best distance of 88.77m. Track and field athletes began qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics on July 1, 2023.
In his first effort while competing in Qualification Group A, the Indian national record holder sent the spear to his season’s and fourth career-best distance.
The qualifiers feature 37 javelin throwers separated into two groups – A and B – battling for a spot in the 12-man final on Sunday. 83.00m is the automatic qualifying mark.
Those who throw 83m or place in the top 12 in both Group A and B advance to the final on Sunday.
The 25-year-old entered the championships as the world’s top-ranked javelin thrower, hoping to win a gold medal for both himself and his country.
Chopra came within a whisker of being the first Indian world winner in any athletics discipline at the 2022 world championships in Oregon, but had to settle for silver after finishing second to Grenada’s Anderson Peters.
Another DP from India Manu, who won silver at the Asian Athletics Championships in Bangkok this year, opened with 78.10m and improved to third in Group A with an 81.31m throw in his second attempt.
His qualifying will be confirmed following the completion of Group B, in which another Indian, Kishore Jena, will compete later in the day.