Asian Games: 'We've shown them we're champions,' says Neeraj after winning gold
Unhappy with the Chinese officials for cancelling his first attempt, Neeraj Chopra said he has never seen such an incident. But he is happy India won the gold and silver medals, overcoming an adverse atmosphere.
Neeraj Chopra, on Wednesday, overcame an adverse atmosphere at the Hangzhou Olympic Centre Stadium to defend his javelin throw gold medal at the Asian Games 2023 in China.
A technical glitz robbed him of his first throw.
Neeraj - the World Championships and Olympics gold medallist - presumably made a perfect start by landing his spear at a desirable distance in his first attempt. His first attempt supposedly landed at a distance of 87 metres.
But unwarranted trouble forced him to retake the shot as the officials, failing to determine the landing spot, canceled it.
"I was upset. I felt that it was a good throw and a good start for me. I did not know the length of the throw but everyone was telling me that it must not be less than 87," Neeraj said in the mixed zone after repeating his Jakarta Asiad feat.
Explaining the incident on the field, he said, "When my throw landed, there was some error in the length measurement system. When the second athlete completed his throw, the mark where I landed the spear was removed. But I kept asking them - 'what happened?'. Then they started searching for the spot but they could not find it. Everyone told me that it was a brilliant throw."
"Then they told me that they would allow me to reattempt it which I agreed to do," he added.
"It does put a bit of mental pressure if your first throw is invalidated at such a big event. But I thought there was no point arguing much. Jyothi also had a similar experience here," alleged the 25-year-old
In the reattempt, Neeraj came up with a below-par throw of 82.38 metres.
Neeraj was also startled because such a glitz happened at a prestigious event like the Asian Games.
"I have not seen any situation like this before," he added.
Neeraj, however, is happy to top the podium and elated for his countryman Kishore Kumar Jena, who won the silver medal. Kishore's third throw was also incorrectly flagged red by the official before it was restored. Kishore eventually won the silver medal to complete a double podium finish for India.
"I am happy for Kishore Kumar. His throws made me elated. It was fun watching him. Irrespective of the challenges thrown at us we have proved to them that we are the champions. But we need to ask them why such glitches are happening frequently," stated Neeraj.