Neeraj Chopra becomes first Indian to win gold in athletics and only second after shooter Abhinav Bindra to win an individual gold ever
Neeraj Chopra won the gold medal in javelin throw with a throw of 87.58 metre at the Tokyo Games 2020 on August 7. He is the second Indian in Olympic history to win an individual gold medal.
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Chopra has become the first Indian to win Olympic gold in athletics.
India's only previous medals in Olympic track and field were two silvers won by Norman Pritchard in the 200 metre and the 200-metre hurdles at the 1900 Paris Games.
Chopra was the first athlete from India to win gold in javelin at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, both in 2018.
He set a new benchmark in Tokyo, holding off two athletes from the Czech Republic to finish atop the podium. Jakub Vadlejch took silver with a best mark of 86.67 meters and former world champion Vitezslav Vesely won bronze with 85.44.
#OlympicStadium#NeerajChopra is an #OlympicChampion! Goes down in history as #TeamIndia 's 1st #Olympics Gold medallist in Athletics and 2nd individual. Take a bow champ @Neeraj_chopra1 pic.twitter.com/CWLdw3Df4g— Team India (@WeAreTeamIndia) August 7, 2021
As soon as the event began, family and neighbours of the javelin thrower Chopra were seen glued to the TV screen in Haryana’s Panipat as they watched him perform at the Tokyo Games.
Chopra had qualified for the final of the javelin throw event at the Olympic Games on August 4 with a stunning first attempt of 86.65m.
All eyes were on Chopra in the final as he is on a roll this season and is the owner of the national record -- 88.07m -- which he achieved at the Indian Grand Prix in March.
Competing in his first Olympics, the 23-year-old took just a few seconds to make it to the final round as he sent the spear well past the qualifying mark of 83.50m during the group A qualifications.
In javelin throw, an athlete can make the final by either attaining the qualifying standard or by finishing among the top-12 competitors in the event.
Following the conclusion of the qualification round, where 12 throwers qualified -- seven from Group A and five from Group B -- Chopra's performance stood out, as, despite missing almost the entire 2020 due to injuries, he came back strongly to be in contention for a medal in the finals.
A farmer’s son from Khandra village near Panipat in Haryana who took up athletics to shed flab on his body left the javelin arena after his first throw, having secured his place in the final easily.
(With agency inputs)
(Edited by : Kanishka Sarkar)
First Published: Aug 7, 2021 5:41 PM IST