Neeraj Chopra at Asian Games: He’s favourite but friend Nadeem could deny him repeat gold

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If athletics were a video game, Neeraj Chopra has completed every level: Olympic, World, Asian, Diamond League and Commonwealth Champion. And now he’s about to repeat the cycle, starting in Hangzhou.

He came to the Asian Games as India’s first athletics world champion; He also became the first Indian to not only win but retain his Diamond League title.

When is the ceremony of Neeraj?

Men’s Javelin Final (No Qualifying Stage) October 4, 4:35 PM IST.

How was Neeraj’s form in 2023?

He’s chosen his events carefully this year so as not to worsen the groin niggle that’s been bothering him, and it seems to have paid off.

He started the year by winning the Diamond League event in Doha [88.67m] and Lausanne [87.66], before the big win at the World Championships. He threw a season’s best 88.77m in the qualifiers and his 88.17m throw was enough to win him the gold in the final.

And three days after his Worlds campaign, he threw 85.71 meters to finish second in the Zurich Diamond League. Two weeks later, he finished second in the Diamond League finals.

How was Neeraj at Asian Games 2018?

Neeraj was the medal favorite in 2018 as well as he had won the Commonwealth Games earlier that year.

He was miles above his competition in Jakarta, winning gold with a throw of 88.06m on his third attempt. That was almost 6m further than China’s Liu Qizhen’s effort for silver, while Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem took bronze. [80.75m].

Who are Neeraj’s main competitors in 2023 Asian Games?

Neeraj’s main rival is a familiar face: Arshad Nadeem. They go back a long way, sharing the podium at the 2018 Asian Games and 2023 Worlds. Nadeem became the first South Asian to break 90 meters with a throw of 90.18 meters to win at the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

He had elbow surgery last year and has only competed in one event this year – Worlds. And he won silver with an effort of 87.82m, the fourth-best throw in the world in 2023.

Neeraj will face competition from two Japanese throwers – Yuta Sakiyama and Roderick Genki Dean – and two Chinese – Haoran Hu and Heqing Niu.

Also in the field is Kishore Kumar Jena, India’s most consistent bowler this year. He finished fifth with a personal best of 84.77m in his first World Championships appearance last month.

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