Neeraj Chopra wins India’s first silver at World Athletics Championships

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Silver medalist Neeraj Chopra of Team India poses during the medal ceremony for the Men’s Javelin Final on day nine of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon (Getty Images for World Athletics)
Silver medalist Neeraj Chopra of Team India poses during the medal ceremony for the Men’s Javelin Final on day nine of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon (Getty Images for World Athletics)

Olympic star Neeraj Chopra unlocked another historic record for India on Sunday as he won the silver medal in the javelin finals in the World Athletics Championships with a stellar throw in the game.

The gold olympian winner, who shot to fame for his throw in Tokyo Olympics last year, secured the silver with his 88.13m hurl in Oregon’s Hayward Field.

The top rank went to the defending champion, Grenadadian player Anderson Peters. He won the gold with a lightning launch of 90.54m.

Jakub Vadlejch from the Czech Republic, who was also the Olympic silver winner, won the bronze with his 88.90m throw.

In his career-best effort, Chopra salvaged his initial foul throw, which was followed by 82.39m and 86.37m throws in the second and third rounds. But in his fourth throw, which flew to the distance of 88.13m, Chopra managed to bag silver.

His fifth and sixth throws were also recorded as fouls.

But the 24-year-old Indian javelin champion had ranked first in the Group A qualification round and secured a place in the finals at the second spot behind the defending star Peters by sending his spear to his third career-best throw of 88.39m.

This was succeeded by Peters, who topped Group B with a throw of 89.91m.

India had so far only secured a bronze medal in the World Championships. Legendary long jumper Anju Bobby George made her mark in Paris in 2003.

She took to Twitter to congratulate Chopra for the “magic moment” after “a long wait”.

Chopra said he was very happy to bring a silver medal to India.

“While conditions were not good and the wind speed was too high, I was confident I would perform well. I am satisfied with the result, I am happy I was able to win a medal for my country,” he said after the men’s javelin throw final.

“I am feeling very happy today as I won a silver medal for the country. I will try to do better at the World Championships next year. I also want to thank SAI, TOPS, Athletics Federation and the government of India for supporting me and allowing me to train abroad. I hope that we will get the same support in other sports so that we can make India proud.”

Congratulatory messages of victory poured in for the Indian sports star from several other top leaders and icons in the south Asian country.

“A great accomplishment by one of our most distinguished athletes! Congratulations to Neeraj Chopra on winning a historic Silver medal at the World Championships. This is a special moment for Indian sports. Best wishes to Neeraj for his upcoming endeavours,” Indian prime minister Narendra Modi said shortly after the victory was announced.

Indian sports minister Kiren Rijiju lauded Chopra’s grit.

“Neeraj Chopra has created history again by winning a silver medal at World Athletics Championship in Oregon. He becomes the 1st man and the 2nd Indian to win medal at the World Championships after long-jumper Anju Bobby George’s bronze in 2003,” he said.

“Young boys and girls may take a cue from Neeraj Chopra. After winning Olympic Gold Medal at Tokyo Olympics, Neeraj didn’t become complacent. He worked even harder to make India proud,” the Indian minister added.

Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar also took to Twitter to congratulate Chopra.

“Neeraj Chopra has added another laurel to his name! India is very proud of you! Heartiest congratulations on winning the silver medal in the men’s javelin throw at World Athletics Championships”.

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