India’s Neeraj Chopra won the javelin gold at the IAAF World under-20 athletics championship in Poland, setting a world record of 86.48m.
The 18-year-old’s win at Bydgoszcz on Saturday is the country’s first-ever gold in a world athletics championship. The young man from Panipat in Haryana bettered the previous U-20 record of 84.69m held by Latvian Zigismunds Sirmais by nearly two metres.
South African Johan Gobler (80.59m) took the silver and Anderson Peters (79.65m) of Granada finished third.
In his first attempt, Chopra, who failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics, threw the javelin to a mark of 79.66 against Grobler’s 80.59m. In the second attempt, he marched ahead of his rivals with the 86.48m throw. The third throw was a modest 78.36m.
Reports said Chopra throw puts him eighth among all throwers this year. Defending Olympic gold medallist Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago’s best for this year is 86.35m.
Chopra had won the gold at the South Asian Games in Guwahati earlier this year with a personal best 82.23m, making him the world’s best junior thrower this season.
Two Indian women discus throwers, Seema Antil -- bronze in 2002 -- and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze, 2014) had won medals in the world junior championship earlier. Long jumper Anju Bobby George’s bronze in 2003 is the only medal India has got in the senior world championship.