Tokyo Olympics javelin throw champion Neeraj Chopra on Sunday ended India’s 19-year-long wait for a medal at the World Athletics Championships after he clinched the silver medal at the 2022 meet with historic throw of 88.13m. 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’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 at 88. 09m. The 24-year 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 bench mark high with a 90. 21m attempt in his first throw of the final. 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.
Keeps his cool
The Indian nevertheless, 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. Neeraj 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.
Neeraj fouled his fifth and sixth attempts but had done enough to win India its maiden silver medal at the World Championships.