Neeraj Chopra broke the national record. Again. He’s done it 27 times since he first broke it in 2016. Twenty seven. By now, we’ve kind of gotten used to the idea that every time he throws a javelin in competition, there’s a new record.

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On a bright Thursday night in Stockholm at the Diamond League, Chopra ran out on the very first throw of the competition, throwing himself to the floor and the javelin to a point exactly 89.94m from him. New national record, check it out. Getting even closer to that golden mark of 90m, check it out. Six centimeters now separate him from the elite line.

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But as a not-so-gentle reminder of how intense the men’s javelin competition is, it wasn’t enough for an Olympic champion to headline the Stockholm Diamond League tournament. Andersen Peters, the reigning world champion, won glory with his game-winning throw: 90.31m. It was Peters’ second 90+m throw of the season after a monstrous 93.07 in the Doha Diamond League. While Peters looks to be at his peak, the upcoming World Championships in Oregon, USA, and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England promise to be very close. A fitting test for Chopra.

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What will please Chopra is his consistency. The Stockholm 2022 Diamond League was just his third event after his heroism at the Tokyo Olympics. He needed time to return to that level of fitness and physical condition. And now that he’s back, he’s shooting better than ever before. Rust? Pshow.

On his return to the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland, he threw 89.02 m: another personal best and a national record, another runner-up). A few days later at the Kuortane Games in the same country, he threw 86.69 m and won the competition. Now in Sweden he has shot 89.94m, 84.37m, 87.46m, 84.77m, 86.67m and 86.84m. Steady schedule.

Now he is joining his Indian teammates in Chula Vista, California for training. Thunder, from where he will travel to Oregon for the World Championship, which is his biggest challenge so far, and then fly to Birmingham to defend his Commonwealth crown. He does this knowing that he is on track to do what he wanted to do this year – improve himself over and over again and get closer to that 90m mark.