After Hima Das from Assam made India proud in athletics by bagging a gold in sprint at junior World championships. Start javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has given the country another opportunity to celebrate, by hitting the world gold at Sotteville Athletics meet in France on Tuesday.
Chopra is perhaps going through the best phase of his career. The 20 year old made history earlier in the year, when he clinched a gold at the Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Chopra’s throw of 85.17m was enough to clinch the top spot on the podium, leaving Moldova’s Andrian Mardare behind on the second spot with a distance of 81.48m. Edis Matusevicius (79.31m) of Lithuania settled for bronze.
The 2012 Olympic champion from Trinidad & Tobago, Keshorn Walcott, failed to finish on the podium, ending a poor fifth. His best throw was 78.26m.
The winning distance from Chopra was, however, less than what he achieved to win a historic Commonwealth Games (CWG) gold in Australia earlier this year. He had improved on his season’s best with an effort of 86.47m in Gold Coast to become the country’s first javelin-thrower to win a CWG gold.
He broke the national record with a throw of 87.43m at the Doha Diamond League but could finish only fourth.
The 20-year-old first made heads roll when he set a junior world record in 2016. He won gold at the World Under-20 Athletics Championship with a throw of 86.48m. He, however, failed to qualify for the finals at the Rio Olympics same year.
Chopra’s next big test will be at the Asian Games next month in Indonesia.
(With inputs from TOI)