Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra to face world No. 1 Johannes Vetter in Finland meet

World champion Anderson Peters and world No. 3 Julian Weber are other top javelin throw athletes who will compete at the Paavo Nurmi Games.

By Ali Asgar Nalwala
Picture by Getty Images

Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra will face world No. 1 Johannes Vetter from Germany and reigning javelin world champion Anderson Peters from Grenada at the Paavo Nurmi Games 2022 in Turku, Finland on June 14.

Though Neeraj Chopra is expected to compete at the Diamond League in Doha and the Golden Spike Ostrava next month, this is the first official confirmation of Neeraj Chopra’s participation at an event since winning the Olympic gold last year.

The Paavo Nurmi Games is Finland’s top track and field competition in summer and has been held every year since 1957. The competition is a Continental Tour Gold meet, a top-tier World Athletics event.

Paavo Nurmi was a Finnish middle-distance and long-distance runner who was known as the Flying Finn. He won nine gold medals and three silvers at the Olympics from 1920 to 1928. 

While Vetter won Paavo Nurmi Games in 2020 with a 91.49m throw meet-record, it will be the first time Neeraj Chopra will be seen competing at this prestigious event.

Vetter and Chopra had also met at the Kuortane Games in Finland last year. Neeraj Chopra clinched bronze and was pipped by Johannes Vetter and London Olympics gold medallist Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago for the top two spots..

Germany’s Julian Weber, the world No. 3 who finished fourth at Tokyo Olympics, is another top javelin thrower who will be in action in Finland.

It will be the first time Chopra, Vetter, Weber and Peters will meet in a final.

Last year, Neeraj Chopra won India’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in athletics with an 87.58m throw. Vetter, who had breached the 90m-mark seven times in the year, failed to cross the 85m-mark in Tokyo. 

Vetter’s personal best of 97.76m in 2020 is the second-best javelin throw in history. Former Olympic champion Jan Zelezny of Czechia holds the world record with a 98.48m throw he achieved in 1996.

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