Tokyo Olympics: India’s Neeraj Chopra wins historic gold medal in men’s javelin throw event
Neeraj Chopra on Saturday created history by becoming the second Indian to win an individual gold medal in Olympics after shooter Abhinav Bindra. Neeraj is the first Indian in over 120 years, and the first athlete from independent India, to win an Olympic medal in a track-and-field discipline. Neeraj won the gold medal in the men's javelin throw event with a throw of 87.58m in his second attempt.
The only medal that India had won in track-and-field events was back in 1900 when British-Indian Norman Pritchard had won two silver medals in Paris. The International Olympic Committee still credits Norman Pritchard's medals to India though various research, including the records of then IAAF (now World Athletics), showed that he had competed for Great Britain.
Neeraj Chopra’s gold took India’s medal count to seven at the Tokyo Olympics - the best ever, bettering the tally of six medals at the London Olympics in 2012. Chopra also became the sixth Indian athlete to win an individual medal at Tokyo 2020 joining weightlifter Mirabai Chanu, shuttler PV Sindhu, boxer Lovlina Borgohain, wrestlers Ravi Kumar Dahiya and Bajrang Punia.
Neeraj was at the No.1 position after all athletes completed their first attempts with an 87.03m throw. The Indian bettered his performance in the second attempt with an 87.58m throw which kept him in the lead. Neeraj's third attempt was 76.79m.
A farmer's son from Khandra village near Panipat in Haryana who took up athletics to shed flab, Neeraj maintained his top spot when 12 athletes were trimmed to 8. The top athletes advanced to get three more attempts.
Neeraj's fourth and fifth attempts were not up to the mark and the athlete chose to deliberately cross over the line so that the distances don't count on both occasions. The Indian continued to be the best thrower at the end of round 5 by virtue of his monster throw in the second attempt, which turned out to be enough to give India a historic gold at the Tokyo Games.
A pre-tournament medal contender, the 23-year-old Chopra fuelled country's expectations by topping the qualification round with a stunning first round throw of 86.59m.