The star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra created history at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics today. The 23-year-old threw the javelin to a distance of 87.58m to win the gold medal at the Olympics.
India is a country which has traditionally struggled in athletics. The country's only Olympic medal in track and field events came way back during the 1900 Paris Games, when Norman Pritchard clinched one silver medal each in 100m and 200m sprints.
More than 100 years later, a certain Neeraj Chopra has ensured that India finally returns with an athletics medal from the Olympics. The Indian athletes surely have come close in the past, most notably the fourth-placed finishes by Milkha Singh and PT Usha, but were never able to break their athletics jinx.
But, Neeraj Chopra is different.
The Indian army man was never a sure shot medal favourite going into the Tokyo Olympics. He was expected to face some very stiff challenge, and there, quite certainly, loomed the danger of yet another fourth-placed heartbreak for India. But, Neeraj rose above them all.
If one thought his qualification throw of 86.65m during the qualification round was extraordinary considering that no one even came within touching distance of the mark, Neeraj had more to offer.
The Haryana lad threw a massive 87.05m in his first attempt in the final, before bettering it with 87.58 in his second attempt.With this gold medal, Neeraj Chopra is now also boasts of the country's best-ever performance in any field event at the Olympics, going past Anju Bobby George's fifth-place finish at the 2004 Athens Games.