On Sunday night, Neeraj Chopra clinched his first-ever gold medal at the World Athletic Championships.
Neeraj Chopra achieved another historic feat on Sunday, becoming the first Indian athlete to win World Athletics Championships gold medal during the men’s javelin throw final event in Budapest. Chopra’s second attempt in the final saw him launch the javelin to a distance of 88.17 meters, which remained the highest in the event. Neeraj’s achievement marked a significant improvement from the 2022 edition of the Worlds, where he secured a silver medal.
Neeraj saved his best for second attempt
The reigning Olympic gold medallist didn’t have the desired start in the final, reaching the distance of just 79m; Neeraj was clearly not happy with the throw and decided to not register the score at all, as he stepped the line to force a foul. However, the Indian thrower saved his best for the second attempt in the final; riding on a humongous crowd support, Chopra took his run and in typical style, began to celebrate even before the javelin could land.
Chopra’s compatriot from Pakistan, Arshad Nadeem finished second as he finished marginally behind the Indian gold medallist at 87.82m. The Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch took the bronze in 86.67m.
Other Indian Javelin thrower in Contention
The other two Indian javelin throwers in contention – Kishore Jena and DP Manu – also produced impressive performances even as they couldn’t secure podium spots. Both throwers qualified for the top-8 positions and finished fifth and sixth respectively. While Jena had the highest registered throw of 84.77m – also his personal best – Manu threw 84.14m.
Chopra, the current no.1 in the javelin world rankings, had won the Olympic gold in Tokyo 2020 but finished with a silver at the worlds in Eugene last year, as Anderson Peters had clinched the gold. The only other Indian to win a medal at the worlds was Anju Bobby George, who took bronze in the women’s long jump in 2003 in Paris.
In the qualification round for the men’s javelin final at the 2023 event, Neeraj needed only one throw to book a place for Sunday’s event. The Olympic champion had registered a brilliant 88.77m in his first attempt, thus securing an automatic qualification for the final. Neeraj covered distances of 88.17m, 86.32m, 84.64m, 87.73m and 83.98m following his foul in the first throw in the final on Sunday.
Neeraj created history again
India’s superstar javelin thrower also became only the third in history to simultaneously hold the Olympics and World Championships titles in the sport, after the iconic Jan Zelezny of Czech Republic and Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway.
Zelezny clinched Olympics gold in 1992, 1996 and 200 while winning World Championships title in 1993, 1995 and 2001. Thorkildsen won gold in 2008 Olympics and 2009 World Championships.
Disclaimer: Except for the headline and synopsis, this story has been taken from the HT News Service