Neeraj Chopra to compete in Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland on June 18

The 26-year-old Chopra, who will begin his season in the Doha Diamond League Meeting on May 10, had won a silver in the 2022 edition of the Paavo Nurmi Games with a throw of 89.30m

Published - April 11, 2024 02:50 am IST - New Delhi

India’s Neeraj Chopra competes.

India’s Neeraj Chopra competes. | Photo Credit: AFP

Superstar Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will compete in the prestigious Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland on June 18, where he will be up against 19-year-old sensation Max Dehning of Germany, the latest entrant in the 90m club, the organisers said.

The 26-year-old Chopra, who will begin his season in the Doha Diamond League Meeting on May 10, had won a silver in the 2022 edition of the Paavo Nurmi Games with a throw of 89.30m -- his career second best -- while he pulled out of the event in 2023 as he was recovering from an injury then. Chopra has a personal best of 89.94m.

The Paavo Nurmi Games are named after the legendary Finnish middle and long distance runner. It is a World Athletics Continental Tour Gold series event, one of the most prestigious single-day competitions outside the Diamond League Meeting series.

"Javelin throw Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra will return to Turku in June. Chopra will compete in the Paavo Nurmi Games after a year's break and will meet a high-quality group of competitors. The competition will take place in Turku on June 18," said Arttu Salonen, who is responsible for athlete procurement at Paavo Nurmi Games, on the official event website.

"In addition to Chopra, we already have a contract with German Julian Weber and spring's surprise Max Dehning.

"The goal is to throw the toughest javelin competition of the summer in Turku before the Paris Olympics. Negotiations with others continue. Naturally, we want top domestic names to cover Turku, led by Oliver Helander (who won gold in 2022 edition with 89.83)."

In February, teenager Dehning threw a sensational 90.20m -- more than 11.07m more than his earlier best of 79.13 -- to become the youngest javelin thrower to breach the coveted 90m mark at the German Winter Throwing Championships in Halle. He, however, could produce a throw of 80.30m in the European Throwing Cup in Leiria, Portugal on March 10.

Julian Weber is the reigning European champion, whose longest throw last season was 88.72. He had finished fourth in both the Tokyo Olympics and 2023 Budapest World Championships. He has a personal best of 89.54m.

The Paavo Nurmi Games website quoted Chopra's coach Klaus Bartonietz as saying that the Indian javelin superstar "threw 90.40 in training a year ago in spring in Turkey at the camp in Belek".

"90 meters could have already been broken in the Stockholm record throw (of 89.94m, Chopra's PB). In Stockholm, Chopra threw 20-30 centimeters from behind the line, so it was a 90-metre throw.

"90 metres is therefore only a matter of time. However, we say that it's just a number," Bartonietz was quoted as having stated at the World Javelin Conference at Kuortane Olympic Training Center ​in November last year, according to the Paavo Nurmi Games website.

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