Mumbai, May 4 (IANS) Neeraj Chopra, India’s first Olympic gold medallist in track and field and first Indian ever to win a Diamond Trophy, will start the defence of his javelin throw title in the first event of the 2023 Diamond League at the Qatar Sports Club in Doha, on Friday.
Chopra will be among a host of champions to feature in one of the most prestigious athletics events of the season.
The Doha meet will also see Commonwealth Games triple jump champion Eldhose Paul compete in a field including reigning Olympic champion Pedro Pichardo from Portugal and reigning Diamond League winner Andy Diaz Hernandez from Cuba.
For the first time, Chopra will be seen in action since his sensational 88.44m throw that clinched the 2022 Diamond Trophy in Zurich. His title defence will have a familiar cast of competitors in the season-opening meet.
Reigning world champion and 2022 Doha meet winner Anderson Peters from Grenada (PB: 93.07m), Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch from the Czech Republic (PB: 90.88m), European champion Julian Weber from Germany (PB: 89.54m), and former Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott from Trinidad and Tobago (PB: 90.16m), will be Chopra’s biggest competitors this season, the broadcasters informed in a release on Thursday.
Apart from Chopra, several other Olympic and World champions will be part of the season opener in Doha. The women’s 100m will feature five-time Olympic medallist Shericka Jackson from Jamaica, former 200m world champion Dina Asher-Smith from Great Britain, and a talented American quartet featuring Melissa Jefferson, Abby Steiner, Twanisha Terry, and Sha’Carri Richardson.
The 200m men’s race will feature reigning Olympic 200m champion Andre De Grasse from Canada, 400m world champion Michael Norman from the USA, 100m world champion and Olympic silver medallist Fred Kerley from the USA, and Olympic and world 200m silver medallist Kenny Bednarek from the USA in a competitive field.
The annual Diamond League is track and field’s most prestigious series sitting in the top tier of World Athletics’ one-day meeting competitions. The 2023 Diamond League comprises 13 meetings, starting with the Doha event leading up to the two-day Diamond League Final in Eugene on September 16-17th.
In India, the 2023 Diamond League will be broadcast live on JioCinema and Sports18.