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Neeraj hints that his next competition could be World C’ship in Budapest from Aug 19

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New Delhi, July 1 (PTI): Fresh from his exploits in the Diamond League in Lausanne, Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra on Saturday hinted that he would straightaway compete in the World Athletics Championships in Budapest starting August 19, without participating in any other meet in intervening period.

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The 25-year-old Chopra, who returned to action after a one-month injury lay-off, won his second consecutive Diamond League title in Switzerland on Friday night with a throw of 87.66m. He had also won the season-opening Diamond League meet in Doha on May 5.

“The next competition, Budapest, will be a big one for me,” Chopra said in Lausanne after winning the men’s javelin throw event.

“I wanted to win so I’m super happy with the results but I also want to go back to training and fix some of the things that I noticed and those are going to make me stronger.”

He termed Lausanne as a lucky city for him.

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“Lausanne always treats me well. Last year, I won and this year too, so I look forward to coming again next year and win again,” said Chopra, referring to the win last year, which was his maiden Diamond League title.

The men’s javelin throw qualification round of the Budapest World Championships is scheduled for August 25, which is more than 50 days from now. If he does not compete in the intervening period, Chopra will be going to the World Championships after being part of just two top competitions — Doha and Lausanne legs of Diamond League.

Chopra did not specifically mention World Championships as his next competition but there are no big event in Budapest before the August 19 to 27 showpiece.

The highest level competition listed in the World Athletics website is the Hungarian Senior National Championships in Budapest on July 7-8, a ‘B’ category event (like National Championships in India).

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A top official of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) told PTI that Chopra has fully recovered from the muscle strain he had sustained last month, which led to his skipping of three top events — all World Athletics Continental Tour gold label competitions.

“He is fully fit. I think he will not compete (before World Championships). Maybe, he wants to concentrate more on World Championships,” the official said.

Chopra had won a silver in the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, USA, last year behind Anderson Peters of Grenada and he would be aiming for a gold this time.

If the Indian superstar, who has a personal best of 89.94m, does not compete till the World Championships, he will miss the July 21 Monaco leg of the Diamond League where javelin throw will be in the roster.

But, since he has cemented his top spot in the Diamond League standings with 16 points after winning Lausanne leg on Friday, there should not be any problem in qualifying for the grand finale on September 16-17 in Eugene, USA where the top eight will compete for the coveted trophy.

Just after the World Championships, there is the Zurich leg of the Diamond League on August 31 which Chopra can compete.

He is the reigning Diamond League champion, having won the trophy in the 2022 grand finale in Zurich in September last.

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