Neeraj Chopra scripted history in Tokyo on Saturday, winning the men’s Javelin Throw and ending India’s wait for an elusive medal in athletics at the Olympics.
The 23-year-old son of a farmer from Khandra village, near Panipat in Haryana, who took up athletics to shed flab, gave the country that elusive medal which slipped from the grasp of the likes of the late Milkha Singh and P T Usha in the 1964 and 1984 editions, with a scintillating showing in the final.
Having fuelled high expectations after topping the qualification round with a stunning first round throw of 86.59 metres, Neeraj delivered with a distance of 87.58 metres in his second attempt which was enough to emerge triumphant.
The Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch won silver with a best attempt of 86.67 metres and Vitezslav Vesely claimed the bronze with 85.44m.
Chopra, the 2018 Commonwealth champion, seized the lead after touching the 87.03 metres mark with his first attempt, a distance no other competitor achieved during the final.
The night was a disappointment for Germany’s Johannes Vetter, a favourite for the podium. He was the only competitor in the final to have cleared 90 metres in his career. However, he was unable to find his usual poise and finished ninth.
- TOKYO OLYMPICS
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