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Missed 90m mark, but happy I came up with my best throw ever: Neeraj Chopra

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India’s ace javelin thrower and 2020 Olympic Games gold medallist Neeraj Chopra has revealed that while he missed the 90-metre mark in the Stockholm Diamond League 2022 in Sweden on Thursday, the fact that it was his best throw ever gave him a really nice feeling.

Continuing his brilliant form, Chopra broke the national record again with a throw of 89.94 metres to finish second in Stockholm. The 24-year-old fell just six centimetres short of the elusive 90-metre mark but he bettered his personal best of 89.30m, set earlier this month at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland.

World champion Anderson Peters of Grenada broke the 16-year-old meet record with a huge 90.31m throw in his third attempt, which was enough to get him the top spot.

A day after the record feat, in a conversation with JSW Sports, Chopra, who was taking part in his first Diamond League event since 2018, said, “It’s feeling very nice (to win silver). There was no such thing in my mind that I have to do it (aim for a giant throw) in my first attempt itself. I just kept my mind-set positive.

“The only thing I had in my mind was to play well and put in my best effort, that’s all. The first throw was very nice, just that I missed the 90m mark. Initially, I thought I had done 90m but it was not to be. But since it’s my best throw, the feeling is really nice,” said Chopra, who will be heading to Oregon, USA for the World Championships from July 15.

There will be expectations from Chopra to win gold at the Worlds in Oregon and earn India’s second medal ever in the prestigious event. Former India long jumper Anju Bobby George is the only athlete to win a medal at the Worlds, when she clinched bronze in Paris 2003. However, Chopra said there was no pressure on him, adding that he will put in his best effort.

“There is no such pressure that we have just one medal at the Worlds. I will put in my best effort, this is my job and this is what I am going to do. I haven’t thought anything other than that. Right now, there is no pressure whatsoever. But it all depends on what mind-set I have in Oregon on the day of the competition,” he added.

International

Mark Zuckerberg strikes gold against jiu jitsu fighters, posts pictures on Instagram

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In the past, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has appeared helpless in front of the US Congress where he has been slapped by fines, and fired 11,000 vulnerable employees after being hit by falling revenues. But outside the business arena where Meta is facing tough competition from TikTok and other rivals, Zuckerberg is a huge mixed martial arts fan.

Contrary to setbacks in the tech sector, the Facebook founder has tasted victory in jiu jitsu.

Striking gold, but in a different arena

  • The billionaire who has trained with UFC fighters, posted pictures after winning jiu jitsu matches for the first time.
  • The billionaire who tried his hand at martial arts, revealed that he won a gold medal in the Gi categroy and a silver medal in the No-GI category.
  • His post on Instagram received comments from UFC featherweight and bantamweight category champions, as well as jiu jitsu hall of fame member Bernardo Faria.

Competitive or short tempered?

  • The entrepreneur turned sportsperson, who also enjoys surfing, was seen getting into a heated argument after losing a contest during the tournament in California as well.
  • On the work front, Zuckerberg’s firm Meta also surprised the markets by bouncing back with strong earnings, after struggling with loss of ad revenue.
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Al Hilal swoop in with bumper €400 million per year salary deal amid reports of Lionel Messi leaving PSG

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Paris Saint Germain forward Lionel Messi is reportedly planning to cut short his time at FC Barcelona and eventually join Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia. This comes after Messi was suspended for two weeks for travelling to the Kingdom without PSG’s Qatari owners’ permission.

End of Project Messi

Messi had hoped to stay at PSG beyond the end of the current season. However, with recent events, the situation has changed drastically. Given his incredible record with FC Barcelona and PSG, Messi’s potential move to Al-Hilal would undoubtedly shake the football world.

While Messi’s priority remains to play in Europe, transfer market expert Fabrizio Romano reported that Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal has offered the Argentine superstar a bumper contract with a record-breaking salary worth €400 million per year. The potential deal will lead to Messi surpassing his eternal rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, who earns €223 million per year at Al Nassr.

Hindrance to Messi’s Barcelona return

There is strong speculation that Messi may return to his former club, FC Barcelona. However, the club is facing difficulties in shedding the €200 million ($220 million) required from their wage bill to make the deal viable. Despite this challenge, Barcelona is trying to convince La Liga that they have a workable plan to make the numbers work for a potential deal with Messi.

Consequences of Messi’s Suspension

Messi’s suspension was imposed because he went to fulfill his duties as a tourism ambassador. The Argentine will also be docked two weeks’ pay, which Forbes’ recently-published list of the World’s 10 Highest-Paid Athletes 2023 estimated to be around $2.5 million. As a result, Messi will miss games against Troyes and Ajaccio.

In addition, PSG has reportedly cancelled a contract renewal offer to Messi, whose current agreement at the Parc des Princes expires on June 30. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner will be free to negotiate with other clubs starting in January 2023.

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Saudi Arabia to host FIFA Club World Cup 2023

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Saudi Arabia has been named the host of the FIFA Club World Cup 2023, scheduled to take place from December 12-22.

“In relation to the FIFA Club World Cup 2023�, which is due to be played under the current format with seven clubs, the FIFA Council unanimously appointed the Saudi Arabian Football Federation as tournament hosts from 12 to 22 December 2023,” the FIFA said in a statement on Tuesday night.

The unanimous decision was made at a FIFA Council meeting and came only a few days after Real Madrid lifted the trophy in Morocco, following a thrilling 5-3 win over Al-Hilal, the first Saudi club to reach the final of the tournament.

Saudi Arabia will be only the sixth host of the competition since its inception in 2000.

The Gulf nation, earlier this month, was awarded the hosting rights of the men’s Asian Cup 2027 and is also bidding to host the Women’s Asian Cup for the first time in 2026.

The FIFA Council also confirmed a change in the format of the tournament from June 2025 — to expand the FIFA Club World Cup from 24 to 32 teams — with 12 teams from Europe involved along six from CONMEBOL, while CONCACAF, CAF and the AFC will each have four, with one place for the OFC and another for the hosts.

In addition, the Council also confirmed that the hosts of the FIFA World Cup 2026, namely Canada, Mexico and the USA, will qualify automatically as the joint hosts of the tournament, with their slots, therefore, being deducted from the overall allocation of six assigned to Concacaf.

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