In the final, Chopra faced a minor setback with a foul throw in the opening round, making him the only athlete to not register a throw.However, he made a stunning comeback in his second attempt, hurling the javelin to a distance of 88.17m, whichultimately secured him the top position.
Chopra’s closest competitor, Arshad Nadeem from Pakistan, managed a best throw of 87.82m, earning him the silver medal. Meanwhile, Jakub Vadlejch from the Czech Republic claimed the bronze with a throw of 86.67m.
Throughout the competition, Chopra displayed consistent excellence, recording impressive distances in his remaining attempts. He achieved distances of 86.32m, 84.64m, 87.73m, and 83.98m, solidifying his dominance in the event.
Notably, two other Indian athletes, Kishore Jena and DP Manu, also showcased remarkable performances. Jena secured a commendable 5th position with a personal best throw of 84.77m, while Manu finished in 6th place with a best throw of 84.14m.
Chopra is now only the second Indian, after great shooter Abhinav Bindra, to hold the Olympic and World Championships titles at the same time. Bindra won the World Championships at the age of 23, and the Olympics at the age of 25.
Chopra, who became the first Indian Olympic track and field gold medalist in Tokyo in 2021, won silver at the World Championships in 2022.
Anju Bobby George, a renowned long jumper, had won bronze in the 2003 World Championships before him.
In addition, the Indian superstar became only the third javelin thrower in history to hold both the Olympic and World Championship titles, joining the legendary Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic and Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway. Zelezny won Olympic gold in 1992, 1996, and 2000, as well as World Championship gold in 1993, 1995, and 2001. Thorkildsen won gold medals in the 2008 Olympics and the 2009 World Championships.
Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra qualifies for 2024 Paris Olympics
Chopra has now won every title available in his sport, thanks to his performance on Sunday. He has gold medals from the Asian Games (2018) and the Commonwealth Games (2018), as well as four individual Diamond League Meeting titles (two each in 2022 and 2023) and the Diamond League champion’s trophy.
He also won the Junior World Championships in 2016 and the Asian Championships in 2017.
(With inputs from PTI)