Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has broken his own national record by clearing a distance of 87.43 m to finish fourth in a star-studded field in the season-opening Diamond League series meeting in Doha.
Neeraj, who won a gold in the Commonwealth Games 2018 with a throw of 86.47m, played against Olympic champion Thomas Rohler, world champion Johannes Vetter and Andreas Hoffman, all Germans and all in the 90m club.
Not to be intimidated, the 22-year-old Indian sent the spear to 87.43m in his second attempt on Friday night to better his earlier national mark of 86.48m.
Finishing fourth, Neeraj beat 2017 London World Championships silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic, who finished fifth with a best throw of 86.67m.
Neeraj's earlier national record was of 86.48m when he won the gold in the 2016 World Junior Championships in Poland. That mark is also the existing world junior record.
Soon after winning gold in the Gold Coast CWG, the star player had said that he would like to be in the 90m club -- the gold standard mark in javelin -- soon.
Saturday's performance showed that Neeraj has been keeping on improving this season.
He began with an 81.17 m, then came up with 87.43m before fouling his next three attempts. He had an 81.06 m in his sixth and last throw.
Rohler won the gold with a best throw of 91.78m which he came up in his second attempt. Vetter was second with 91.56m while Hoffman was third with 90.08m as Germans swept all the top three spots.
Neeraj will next take part in the Eugene (United States) leg of the Diamond League series on May 26 and there again he will be up against Rohler, Vetter, Hoffman and Vadlejch.
(With inputs from PTI)