Meet Neeraj Chopra - "the first Indian champion in athletics"...
Meet Neeraj Chopra - "the first Indian champion in athletics"...

Meet Neeraj Chopra – “the first Indian champion in athletics”…

Meet Neeraj Chopra – “the first Indian champion in athletics”…

Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra broke the junior World record on way to the gold in the IAAF World under-20 athletics championship at Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Saturday. His 86.48m effort brought India’s first World record and the country’s first-ever gold in any World athletics championships.

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The 18-year-old from Khandra village in Haryana’s Panipat district broke the old mark of 84.69 metres held by Latvian Zigismunds Sirmais by nearly two metres.

Chopra who had qualified for the final of the U-20 world championships in first position, threw the javelin to a mark of 79.66 in his first attempt. This was good enough for second place behind South Africa’s Johan Grobler who flung the javelin 80.59m in his first attempt. However, Neeraj then hurled the javelin a massive 86.48m in his very next throw which none of his competitors would come close to matching. Chopra threw a modest 78.36m in his third and final legitimate attempt.

“When the spear left my hand on that second throw, I had a feeling that this was a special throw. I don’t think I expected it to go over 86 meters but since the last couple of months, I have worked hard on my fitness, my technique and it all paid off today,” Chopra said after his world record performance.

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Chopra’s mark is also a new national record. Chopra, who also became the first Indian athlete to set a world record at any level, bettered his previous personal best of 82.23 set at the South Asian Games earlier this year, which incidentally was the old national record.

“In the last one year, Neeraj has made astronomical improvement. But I don’t think it should stop. The best guys in the youth categories kept improving. There’s no reason, why he shouldn’t. In a year, with a bit of luck, he could be throwing something special,” said his coach  Garry Calvert, who had coached Australian Jarrod Bannister to a throw of 89.08m back in 2008.