In the ongoing Asian Games, India bagged its first gold in the men’s javelin throw. Credits go to 20-year-old Neeraj Chopra, who threw his javelin at 88.06 m.
With this win, he joins the legendary Milkha Singh in winning gold in both Commonwealth Games as well as Asian Games in the same year. Milkha Singh had clinched gold at the Cardiff Commonwealth games and Tokyo Asian Games in 1958.
Neeraj, who has been representing India in international events since 2012, also broke his own national record by clearing a distance of 88.06m. With this gold, India now has eight golds, 13 silver, and 20 bronze. It’s Neeraj's second gold after the Commonwealth Games held earlier this year with a throw at 86.47m.
India got its first medal when Gutrej Singh won bronze in the javelin event at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi. With this win, Neeraj became the third Indian to win the medal after Parsa Singh, who won a silver medal at the 1951 Delhi Asian Games.
At the game, Neeraj’s best throw was at 83.46m. Out of six attempts, his second and sixth throws were declared foul. Keeping up with his earlier performance, it was in his third attempt when the 20-year-old cleared a distance of 88.06m and bagged the gold. The closest competitor was Liu Qizhen of China, who claimed silver, eventually, by scoring 82.22m. While Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem claimed bronze with his throw at 80.75m, says NDTV.
Amongst the many stellar performances in the past, Neeraj has clinched gold at the 2016 South Asian Games just with his first throw, which was at 82.23m and broke the Asian U-20 record. Recently, he ended at fifth position in the Paris leg event of Diamond League, Doha and became the second athlete to reach that level, reports by The Better India said.
Hailing from a village near Panipat, called Khandra, Neeraj's father was a farmer. Owing to his humble background, he couldn’t afford a professional coach for his son, and Neeraj grew up watching videos on YouTube about the javelin and learned the game’s technique and its rules. It was his uncle who encouraged him to take up javelin in the year 2011.
Speaking about his win at the Asian Games, he said,
The competition was good, I had trained well and was focused on getting a gold medal for the country, and I dedicate my medal to Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji who was a great man.