The Javelin thrower has made a remarkable comeback to the track.
India’s golden boy Neeraj Chopra is not stopping after winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. His next target is to continue his golden run in the upcoming Paris Olympics. The Javelin thrower proved his commitment with a sublime performance in the recently concluded Paavo Nurmi Games.
He produced a remarkable performance in the tournament on his return to the track after 44 weeks from the Tokyo Olympics. Neeraj Chopra was happy with his performance in the competition. It boosted his confidence for the upcoming tournaments. He stated, “I am pleased with my performance. It was my first event of the season, so I am happy to have started the season on a high note. My performance here has boosted my confidence significantly.”
“Going forward I am looking to work on my technique, throw, and overall performance. I am in a happy place at the moment and I just want to do well in the upcoming events,” the Tokyo Gold medallist continued.
The next years are very important for Neeraj Chopra before the Paris Olympics. He has achieved many accolades in his career so far and will look to create more records for his country. On that note, let’s take a look at his top five records.
5. First Indian athlete to win a world championship
Neeraj Chopra had raised many eyebrows with his performance at the junior level. He won many tournaments during that period and one of them was World U20 Championships in 2016. The javelin thrower also won a gold medal at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland and became the first Indian track and field athlete to become a world champion in any event and at any age level.
The tournament announced him at the world stage and set a benchmark for the upcoming young athletes. It also proved to be a much-needed platform for Neeraj Chopra to turn him into a global superstar.
4. First Indian athlete to set a world record
Neeraj Chopra was on fire in 2016. Apart from winning the gold medal in World U20 Championships in 2016, he also created the world record in the same tournament. His winning throw of 86.48m at the junior championships in Poland also set the new under-20 world record, beating the 84.69m mark established by the previous holder, Latvia’s Zigismunds Sirmais.
Neeraj Chopra’s 86.48m throw in the tournament still stands as both the U20 world record as well as the U20 Asian record in the javelin throw.
3. First Indian javelin thrower to win a gold medal at Asian Games
The 2018 Asian Games allowed Neeraj Chopra to add another gold medal to his tally. This time Indian audience also took notice of this athlete as a serious potential for the future. The Haryana lad made history with his third throw, which registered a whopping 88.06m distance.
The youngster beat the likes of Cheng Chao-Tsun from Chinese Taipei who held the Asian Record at 91.36m. The Gold proved to be a huge reminder of the immense potential held by the youngster. Neeraj Chopra also became the first Indian javelin thrower to win a gold medal at the Asian Games. The performance also marked him down as a player to watch for at the Tokyo Olympics.
Before him, Gurtej Singh was the only men’s javelin thrower from the country to win a medal. He had won bronze at the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games.
2. National record
Neeraj Chopra returned to the track after 44 weeks and straightaway broke his national record which he set during the Tokyo Olympics last year. India’s golden boy rewrote the national record with a throw of 89.30 meters.
In his first attempt of the season, Chopra managed a throw of 86.92m. No other athlete on the field had crossed 85 in their first attempt. Home favourite Oliver Helander threw a mammoth 89.83 on his second attempt, breaking his personal best. It was time for Chopra to respond and he did that by breaking the national record.
While it was 53 cm shy of Helander’s throw, coach Klaus and Chopra were elated with the attempt. As the javelin left his hands, he let out a giant roar, signalling how good the throw was – a signature Neeraj Chopra gesture. 89.30 read the board and once again, Neeraj Chopra had bettered the national record.
He has been holding the Indian national record in men’s javelin throw since 2016. The athlete first set the senior national record during the 2016 South Asian Games in Guwahati, where he reached the mark of 82.23m to win the gold and has broken it many times till now.
1. Gold medal at Tokyo Olympics
Neeraj Chopra is the first and only Indian track and field athlete to win a medal at the Olympics. He won a gold medal with a throw of 87.58m at the Tokyo Olympics.
Until Neeraj Chopra’s medal at Tokyo, India had come close to a medal in athletics at the Olympics a few times with the sublime efforts of Milkha Singh and PT Usha. However, they failed to bring the Olympic glory to India but Neeraj Chopra quenched the thirst of the whole nation with his medal.
He has now his eyes set on the Paris Olympics. Neeraj Chopra and his fans will hope that he repeats the same feat at the next summer games as well.