Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will begin his Diamond League title defence at the Doha leg of the 2023 Diamond League on May 5, the event’s website reported on Tuesday.

Diamond League meets are going to be an important part of Chopra’s season as he steps up preparations to defend his Olympic title in Paris next year.

“I’m always overwhelmed by the warm support I get from Indians across the world and in Qatar that is particularly special, so I’m looking forward to opening my 2023 Wanda Diamond League season in Doha alongside a group of incredible athletes, in front of a passionate crowd,” Chopra is quoted as saying.

According to the report, also competing in the Diamond League opener in Doha will be World Champion Anderson Peters of Grenada, Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch, European champion Julian Weber, 2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott and 2016 Olympics silver medallist Julius Yego.

“The main events this year are of course World Championships and Asian Games,” Chopra had said earlier this year about his plans for 2023. “There is also the Diamond League final. But when to start, I am yet to decide as that depends on the Asian Games. We will wait and see what the Covid situation is in China. If it happens as per schedule in October, we will start the season a bit late, in May or June. So that we can stretch the season till then. We will also have continental tours and Diamond League games.”

Apart from defending his Asian and Diamond League title, Chopra will also have his eyes on crossing the 90m mark.

Kitna farak reh gaya? 6 cm bas [How much distance is left? Just 6 cm]. But it is a magical mark for any top javelin thrower. Whenever you speak of top javelin athletes you say ‘bhai, 90m maar rakhe hain usne’ [he has achieved the 90m mark]; but I’m not bothered about the pressure of expectations. I know I am close. It will happen when it has to. It could have happened last year or the year before, but maybe God has kept a perfect time and place for that, but let’s see. All I can do is prepare even better than last years, when it has to happen, it will happen,” Chopra had said.

Chopra, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medalist, had missed the Doha leg last year as he started the season later* but won silver in Stockholm and followed it up by winning gold at the Lausanne meet. At the Diamond League final in Zurich, Chopra threw 88.44m to become the first Indian to win the Diamond trophy.

The Diamond League season begins in Doha in May and will end with the final meet in Brussels. USA’s Hayward Field will host the Wanda Diamond League Final this September, becoming the first stadium outside of Europe ever to host the finale.

Diamond League meets for 2023

Doha QAT 5th May 2023 Yes
Rabat MAR 28th May 2023
Rome/Florence ITA 2nd June 2023
Paris FRA 9th June 2023
Oslo NOR 15th June 2023
Lausanne SUI 30th June 2023 Yes
Stockholm SWE 2nd July 2023
Silesia POL 16th July 2023
Monaco MON 21st July 2023 Yes
London GBR 23rd July 2023
Zurich SUI 31st August 2023 Yes
Shenzhen CHN 2nd September 2023
Brussels BEL 8th September 2023
Eugene (FINAL) USA 16th - 17th September 2023 Yes

*Correction and clarifications: Neeraj Chopra didn’t miss Doha DL meet last year with an injury, it was due to a decision to start his season late.