New Delhi, 30 June: Champion Javelin Thrower Neeraj Chopra, and long jumper Murali Sreeshankar will lead the Indian charge at the Lausanne Diamond League in Switzerland, scheduled on June 30.
The one-day track and field meet will mark the return of Neeraj Chopra in action after the Indian suffered a muscle strain during training last month.
Other Indian long jumper Jeswin Aldrin was also in the initial entry list for the Lausanne meet. However, the 21-year-old pulled out of it citing that he wasn’t fully fit. He is the world leader in his event this season, courtesy his national record-setting 8.42m effort at the Indian Open Jumps Competition back in March. Murali Sreeshankar is second on the list.
The 25-year-old Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra had opted out of FBK Games in the Netherlands (June 4), Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland (June 13) and the Ostrava Golden Spike in the Czech Republic (June 27) due to an injury. His last participation was at the Doha Diamond League in May. There he won the Javelin throw competition with an effort of 88.67m. The Qatar meet has been his only competitive outing this year till now.
Neeraj currently leads the Diamond League javelin throw points tally with eight points and will look to consolidate his lead at Lausanne. He had clinched the Diamond League trophy last year by winning the grand final in Zurich and is looking to defend his crown.
At Lausanne, Neeraj Chopra is likely to face a stiff challenge from Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, the Tokyo Olympics silver medallist. Jakub Vadlejch finished second at Doha behind the Indian with a throw of 88.63m. The Czech produced a world-leading throw of 89.51m to win the Paavo Nurmi Games earlier this month.
Also in the fray are the reigning world champion Anderson Peters(Grenada), Julian Weber(Germany) and former Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott from Trinidad and Tobago.
Long jumper Murali Sreeshankar will also be in action at the meet. The 24-year-old Indian finished third at the Paris Diamond League 2023 earlier this month with an attempt of 8.09m and will be looking for another good result in Switzerland.
Sreeshankar qualified for the upcoming World Athletics Championships in the long jump event with an 8.41m leap at the recently concluded National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar.
The Lausanne meet is the sixth event of this year’s Diamond League series and the second, after the Doha leg, with a men’s javelin throw competition in the programme. Athletes are awarded points based on their performances in each Diamond League leg and the top eight athletes in each event qualify for the final. The winner of the final in each event gets awarded a Diamond League trophy.
The Diamond League 2023 series will culminate with the two-day final in Eugene, the USA on September 16 and 17.