Eighteen-year-old javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra became India’s second ever person to win a gold medal at an IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) world championship event. The competition, which was held in Poland, also saw the Panipat lad breaking the under-twenty world record by almost two metres!
Out of his three throws in the finals, the game changer was the second one. His first javelin throw was marked at a distance of 79.66 metres.
Neeraj threw a massive 86.48 metres the second time, leaving his competition in the dust.
South African Johan Gobler won the silver medal with a throw of 80.59, while Anderson Peters of Granada took home the bronze.
To put his achievement into perspective, Neeraj’s throw makes him the eighth best among all throwers this season, and first among the junior throwers.
Photo source: YouTube
Moreover, it also puts him ahead of defending Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago.
Speaking about his accomplishment, he said to Indian Express:
“When the spear left my hand on that second throw, I had a feeling that this was a special throw. I don’t think I expected it to go over 86 meters but since the last couple of months, I have worked hard on my fitness, my technique and it all paid off today,”
The promising athlete has tasted success on the world stage previously too. He won not only the gold medal at the South Asian Championships held earlier this year in Guwahati, but also the silver at the Asian Junior Championships held last month.
His coach, Garry Calvert, also showered praise upon his student, calling him a natural in the sport.
The only other Indian to win a gold medal at an IAAF world event is long jumper Anju Bobby George, who won it in 2005. In the light of Neeraj’s recent success, the Athletics Federation of India has asked the IAAF for an Olympics wildcard entry for him.