Neeraj Chopra wins historic silver medal for India at Worlds

Neeraj Chopra. Design: Onmanorama
Neeraj Chopra. Design: Onmanorama

Eugene, USA: Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra on Sunday made history again bagging the silver medal in the men's javelin final at the World Athletics Championships.

Though two of his attempts were marked foul, a throw of 88.13m in his fourth attempt was enough for the 24-year-old to bag silver in his first-ever finals.

It was beyond the 87.58m he produced in Tokyo, where he became the first Indian to win an individual athletics gold.

However, it remains short of his personal best: 89.94m that he marked during the 2022 Diamond League in Stockholm, Sweden. It was a national record in India.

But even replicating that would have had little impact on the contest. Grenada's Anderson Peters, the world champion, had already marked 90.21m in his very first attempt.

Grenada's Anderson Peters celebrates winning gold in the men's javelin final REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Grenada's Anderson Peters celebrates winning gold in the men's javelin final REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

This hurled him to the top spot and he remained there throughout the competition, breaching the 90m-mark two more times.

A monstrous final throw that marked 90.54m ensured Peters the gold, thus helping him retain his world javelin title.

Chopra's throws were as follows: 88.13m, foul, 82.39m, 86.37m, 88.13m, foul, foul.

Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch, who won silver in Tokyo last year, took bronze with an effort of 88.09m.

(From L) Silver medallist India's Neeraj Chopra, gold medallist Grenada's Anderson Peters and bronze medallist Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch pose with their medals after the men's javelin throw final during the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on July 23, 2022. Ben Stansall / AFP

Rohit Yadav, the other Indian in the fray, bowed out of the competition after coming 10th. However, it was still an impressive debut campaign for the 21-year-old.

Chopra's silver medal in Eugene was India's first at a World Championships and just the country's second overall after Anju Bobby George took bronze in the women's long jump in Paris in 2003.

Chopra, who was bidding to become the first men's javelin thrower to follow an Olympic triumph with a world title since Norway's Andreas Thorkildsen in 2009, said he was not feeling his best.

"In the first three throws I did not feel good. My warm-up was not good," he added. "I felt something in my groin during the throw but I think it is okay. It was a good experience today.

"We also have the World Championships next year, so I will try to do better in Budapest."

Germany's Johannes Vetter, who won gold in London in 2017 and has the second-longest throw of all time, did not compete in the World Championships due to a shoulder injury.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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