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Neeraj Chopra set to return at Paavo Nurmi Games

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TURKU (FINLAND), June 17: Forced into a short break to mend a niggle, Olympic and world champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will return to competitive action at the Paavo Nurmi Games here on Tuesday against a stellar field, hoping to continue his build-up to Paris Games with renewed vigour.

The 26-year-old superstar, the lone Indian in the field here, will be up against German teenaged sensation Max Dehning, who is the youngest member of the coveted 90m club, which Chopra is aspiring to enter.

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The 19-year-old is being seen as a major competition for Chopra when he defends his Tokyo Games gold medal in Paris.

Local favourite Oliver Helander, who had beaten the Indian in the 2022 edition of the one-day competition, will also be there.

The Indian won a silver medal in 2022 with a throw of 89.30m, which was a personal best at that time. Chopra improved that mark to 89.94m at the Stockholm leg of the Diamond League in the same year.

Two-time world champion Anderson Peters of Grenada and 2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago are in fray as well here.

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Chopra had withdrawn from last month’s Ostrava Golden Spike as a precautionary measure after he “felt something in my adductor (group of muscles located on inner thighs)”

He began his season at the Doha Diamond League in May, where he finished second with his final throw of 88.36m, the ninth best mark of his career.

Jakub Vadlejch, who beat Chopra in the Doha Daimond League will not be competing here.

Chopra also participated at the National Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar, where he secured the gold medal with an underwhelming effort of 82.27m.

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After the Paavo Nurmi Games, Chopra will next be seen in action at the Paris Diamond League on July 7.

He has opted out of the National Inter-State Athletics in Panchkula to be held from June 27 to avoid a hectic schedule ahead of the Olympics.

“Further competition schedule will be decided later according to situation and my body. Otherwise, I will go to Paris from there (after competing in Turku),” Chopra had stated after the Federation Cup. (PTI)

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