Olympics Begin In
Begin typing your search above and press return to search.


Neeraj Chopra's throwing technique is perfect - Para-javelin champion Devendra Jhajharia

The Bridge caught up with reigning Paralympics Javelin champion, Devendra Jhajaria, to discuss all things Neeraj.

Neeraj Chopra in action at the Tokyo Olympics final (Source Reuters)

Neeraj Chopra in action at the Tokyo Olympics final (Source Reuters)


Abhijit Nair

Updated: 8 Aug 2021 7:18 AM GMT

India's star javelin thrower, Neeraj Chopra, yesterday engraved his name in the history books of Indian sports as only the second individual Olympic gold medallist from the country.

The 23-year-old threw the javelin to a distance of 87.58m in his second attempt at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo to end India's 121-year medal drought in athletics at the Olympics.

On the historic night, The Bridge caught up with reigning Paralympics Javelin champion, Devendra Jhajaria, to discuss all things Neeraj.

Yes, India now holds javelin throw gold medals in both the Paralympics and the Olympic Games simultaneously.

Excerpts from the interview:

Devendra, you have won two Paralympics gold medals and finally, someone has joined your elite club of javelin gold medals at the biggest sporting event. Your thoughts?

It is a very proud moment for me that we finally have a medal in athletics at the Olympics, the fact that it is a gold and has come in javelin makes me even happier. This is a very big moment in the Indian sporting history, and will hopefully, help javelin throw to get some much-needed popularity amongst the Indian fans.

How big is this for Indian athletics? How can this win for Neeraj bring a change in Indian athletics?

The magnitude of this gold medal from Neeraj cannot really be explained in words. We all know how badly India has struggled in athletics at the Olympics. Apart from the likes of Milkha Singh, PT Usha and Anju Bobby George, no one has even come close to an Olympic medal in athletics. This win will surely inspire a lot of young kids to take up athletics, to take up the javelin and you only have Neeraj to credit for it. This has the potential to change how Indian athletics is perceived is at the world stage, but it will take time. There is still a lot to be done.

Anything on Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the Government's role in this historic win?

The introduction of the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) was in itself a very big thing for Indian athletes, and whatever we have seen in Tokyo is a result of TOPS handled by SAI and the Government. We are always quick to point them out when India does not do well, but never when someone does well. They do need to be given due credit along with all the private organisations which have supported our athletes in their Olympic quest.

There have been lots of talks about Neeraj's technique. Something particular you can throw light on?

See, Neeraj has always had this talent for javelin but his technique is something he has perfected during the hours of training he has put in. He did remodel his technique sometime after an injury he had suffered, and that has worked brilliantly for him. From the way he grips the javelin to his run-up, his non-throwing arm and his landing everything seems to be working perfectly for him at this moment. There are no chinks in the armour that one can point out.

Once Neeraj qualified for the final with his very first throw, it was almost a certainty that he would return with a medal. In fact, the only real threat to Neeraj seemed to be Johannes Vetter, who unfortunately could not make it to the final 8. What do you think went wrong with the German?

Vetter is definitely one of the best in the world. The way he was throwing those more than 90m throws before the Olympics it kind of felt that he will walk away with the gold medal without any competition. But, something was terribly wrong for him in Tokyo. Probably the weather conditions did not suit him and it affected his performance or it must have been the pressure of expectations. He did talk something about the track being not the best after the qualification round, but I am not really sure about it. There should be no excuses from someone like Vetter, he is the best in the world but it was just not his day.

You must have interacted with Neeraj, anything you would like to share?

The thing with Neeraj is that he is always confident. He knows he has it in him to do it, and he can pull it off under the most critical situations. If you see his throws ahead of the Olympics were not so great, but when it mattered the most he threw the javelin the farthest. Right from the qualification throw Neeraj knew that it was his medal to lose and he peaked at the right moment. This is what stands out when you compare Neeraj with others. He knows what he wants and when he has to do what to get his dreams accomplished.

Next Story