Olympic and world champion Chopra successfully defended his 2018 gold with his season best throw of 88.88m, while Jena achieved his personal best twice to win a silver medal with an 87.54m mark and book himself a Paris Olympics ticket. But the medal wins were preceded by a couple of extremely controversial moments.
Chopra’s first throw, which looked like a near-90m attempt, went unregistered. He kept hanging around the technical bench for almost 10-12 minutes to figure out why it was not being measured. Some of the officials were seen searching for the spot where Chopra’s spear landed. Meanwhile, the second thrower on the list had completed his attempt. There was confusion all around. Eventually, Chopra had to throw another first attempt.
Jena too was called for a foul on his second attempt and had to protest to get it overturned and have it registered as a legal throw.
But after the 1-2 finish, their nerves seemed settled, to the extent that a banter at the press conference enthralled those present there to pick the brains of the Indian duo.
Neeraj Chopra explains the controversy over his first throw as he defends Asian Games gold
Here’s how it went and cracked everyone up:
Moderator: Kishore, if you were a reporter, what would you ask Neeraj today?
Neeraj interrupted, as Jena gave a hesitating smile, and said: “Poochh le bhai jo poochhna hai (ask anything you want to ask)”.
On taking the lead over Chopra with his third attempt in the final, Jena was asked: “What was going through your mind at that point?”
Jena looked towards Neeraj, then towards the reporter, and said: “Mujhe pata tha bhai saab maar hi denge (I knew big brother would throw one past my mark).
And everyone present in the hall burst into laughter.
It was Neeraj’s first successful title defence at a multi-disciplinary event and the first time India has had two athletes on the Asian Games podium in the men’s javelin throw event.
“I am more happy for Jena, the way he was throwing. It’s a wonderful feeling as an Indian,” said Chopra.
Asian Games 2023: Neeraj Chopra and Kishore Jena win Gold and Silver for India in Javelin throw competition