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Why has Neeraj Chopra's chance of winning an Olympic medal improved?

He is currently topping the entire qualification group and a few of his main competitors have already been eliminated

Indian Athlete Neeraj Chopra

India's realistic hope in Athletics is Neeraj Chopra (Source: Reuters)


C.C. Chengappa

Updated: 4 Aug 2021 2:49 AM GMT

It has been a long time coming for India but the country can finally hope to see a medal being won in an athletic event. Neeraj Chopra is a win away from doing it and we take a look at the events that have transpired at the qualification stages today.

Group A

As of Group A, it seems as though Johannes Vetter's presence is a blessing in disguise as Neeraj now knows what he will have to do in the finals to win gold. This is something that Indian fans have been watching on keenly given that Neeraj had a sure shot chance of qualifying and even winning a medal.

In group A, Johannes Vetter threw a total of 85.64 to seal his qualification. When compared to his usual throws of 89m and 90m that he has been averaging throughout the past year, this is surprising coming from the German. And while the qualification is not indicative of anything to expect in the finals, it can be a big mental boost to Neeraj who will be looking to take his final throws past his career best of 88.07m. Johannes Vetter is one of Neeraj's main competitors who has a personal best of 97.76m. Neeraj has not breached the 90m mark yet but definitely has it in him to do the same in the finals.

Lassi Etelatolo was third in the group who threw 84.50m and sealed his place. However, Neeraj should see only Johannes as his main competitor from Group A heading into the finals.

Group B

The other competitor who have come close to Neeraj's qualifying mark was Pakistan's Arshad Nadeem who threw 85.16m. The rest of Group B saw maximum throws below 85m which is good news for Neeraj considering many of the competitors average between 83-85m usually.

To add on to the hope of a medal. Marcin Krukowski and Keshorn Walcott of Group B did not qualify for the final. The relevance of this is that these two are the only two individuals apart from Johannes Vetter who have bettered the season best of Neeraj Chopra. Given that such competitors have been eliminated, it is a good sign as the field of those vying for the top3 spots has been reduced by a big margin.

It is all down to the final to be held on August 7th now and we will hope and pray, that Neeraj win's India's first athletics medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

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