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Tokyo Olympics: Neeraj Chopra keeps expectations, qualifies for finals

Neeraj Chopra qualified for the Men's Javelin Throw finals with just his first attempt at Tokyo Olympics

Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra had a dream Olympic debut (Source: Reuters)


Manish Sharma

Updated: 4 Aug 2021 1:40 AM GMT

Indian fans couldn't have asked for a better start here on Day 12 of the Tokyo Olympics in athletics as Neeraj Chopra, who had created so much hope for the country going into the games showed what he's all about. The 23-year-old qualified for the finals with just his first attempt as he breached the qualification mark of 83.50m by some distance with a throw of 86.65m. Neeraj looked really calm and focussed, as he prepared for this throw, for someone competing in his first Olympics.

There were a lot of expectations from Neeraj Chopra in the build-up to the Tokyo Olympics and for good reason, as his performance in the past couple of months had shown great promise. In the five events in which Neeraj took part in 2021 before the Tokyo Olympics, he crossed the 83m mark four times with the only exception being the Karlstad GP in June. Neeraj was also the first-ever Indian athlete to win a world title in the track and field event when he won the World U-20 Champion, with an under 20 world record throw of 86.48m.

It would be fair to say that all the expectations would have added some extra pressure, especially after the last few days where we saw the Indian athletes in athletics struggling to produce their own personal best at Tokyo Olympics. However, Neeraj Chopra looked unfazed by any sort of pressure which showed in his performance. On a day where other athletes, especially Johannes Vetter, took some time to get off the block, Neeraj Chopra set the tone with his first and only attempt to qualify for the finals and laid down the marker to his fellow competitors.

There's still a lot to come from Neeraj Chopra as we have seen that he has the potential to cross the 88m mark, when he hit an 88.07m in the Indian Grand Prix at Patiala in March. Make no mistake, we will see his competitors stepping up in the finals and it'll be a completely different scenario as compared to qualification but expect Neeraj Chopra to go up a gear as well. For now, Neeraj Chopra has kept the hopes of the billion Indians alive of a first-ever medal in athletics at the Olympics.

The boy is special.

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