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Neeraj Chopra ends India’s 19-year wait at World Athletics Championships

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics javelin throw champion Neeraj Chopra clinched the silver medal at the World Athletics Championships 2022 to end India’s 19-year-long wait for a medal at this world stage.

This was India’s second medal at the World Championships and the first podium finish since Anju Bobby George won a bronze medal in long jump at Paris in 2003.

Neeraj Chopra’s best effort of 88.13m in the final at the Hayward Field was short of Anderson Peters’ gold medal-winning mark of 90.54m while Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch won the bronze with 88.09m.

45-year old Anju called it a “magic moment.”

“Congratulations Neeraj Chopra for that magic moment and welcome to the group..it was a long wait,” she said in a tweet.

Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra also congratulated Chopra for his historic win.

“Many congratulations Neeraj Chopra for your silver at the worlds! You make us proud. Well done and the best for the rest of the season,” tweeted Bindra.

Former Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag wished Neeraj in a unique way.

“Years from now there is going to be a generation of youngsters for whom ‘Kya Fenkta Hai’ is going to be a massive compliment, thanks to this champion #NeerajChopra. Once again making India proud with a Silver at the World Athletics Championship,” he said.

24-year-old Neeraj Chopra, who made the cut for the Oregon 2022 men’s javelin throw final courtesy an 88.39m mark in the qualification, made a disappointing start with a foul. On the other hand, reigning champion Peters of Grenada set the benchmark high with a 90.21m attempt in his first throw of the final.

READ MORE: Paavo Nurmi Games: Neeraj Chopra sets new national record in javelin

world athletics championships javelin medal winners
Source: IANS

Needing to shatter his personal best and the national record of 89.94m, set at the Stockholm Diamond League last month, for a shot at gold, Neeraj posted 82.39m and 86.37m with his second and third attempts, respectively. However, he was still short of a medal position after the third series of throws.

Nevertheless, he ensured three additional throws to try and climb back into a medal position as he was placed fourth after Round 3. The bottom four drop out after the first three throws.

Meanwhile, Peters extended his lead at the top with a 90.46m mark in his second attempt. Chopra finally climbed up into the top three with an 88.13m fourth attempt which saw him leapfrog the Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch and Germany’s Julian Weber into the silver medal position.

The Tokyo Olympics champion fouled his fifth and sixth attempts but had done enough to win India its maiden silver medal at the World Championships.

“I am happy to have won silver, the country’s first medal in the World Athletics Championships after 19 years, I will take it. World Championships is even tougher than Olympics, its record is higher than that of Olympics,” said Neeraj after his World Championships heroics.

“An athlete cannot win a gold every time but we have to keep trying and give our best. I have learned a lot from the challenging situation today, and I will work for improvement.

“I have won gold at all levels except this World Championships silver. So, hunger is there to win gold. I will try to change the color of the medal (to gold) in the next World Championships in 2023 (in Budapest). The other competition I want to win gold in is the Diamond League,” he added.

Another Indian javelin thrower Rohit Yadav finished 10th with a best attempt of 78.72m, which came in his third attempt. His two earlier attempts measured 77.96m and 78.05m.

IANS

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