World Athletics Championships 2022: India finishes with best-ever showing
Apart from Neeraj Chopra's silver, this is the first time India had six athletes qualifying for the finals at the World Athletics Championships. The previous highest was three.
While Neeraj Chopra's victory clad in silver certainly steals the show and hogs the limelight, credit should be given where it's due to the other five athletes who made it to the finals of the World Athletics Championships 2022.
Apart from Chopra, there was Annu Rani (Javelin Throw), Rohit Yadav (Javelin Throw), Murali Sreeshankar (Long Jump), Eldhose Paul (Triple Jump), and Avinash Sable (3000m Steeplechase).
India had three finalists in 2015 and 2019, these were the best ever in the competition's history. In terms of medal wins too, the only medal (a bronze by Anju Bobby George) came in 2003.
Annu Rani bettered her 8th placed finish in the 2019 edition after moving up a place this year, after she finished 7th with a best throw of 61.12m. In the men's final, Yadav finished at 10th place with 78.72m being his highest on his WAC debut. And, Neeraj once again finished with a podium finish, thereby ending a 19-year-drought since India won its first at the Worlds.
Eldhose's feat of reaching the Triple Jump final was alone noteworthy as he was the first Indian to do so at the WAC, that too on his debut at the Worlds. While he couldn't better his Personal Best of 16.99m, Paul finished 9th with 16.79m distance being his longest.
Long Jumper Sreeshankar failed to impress in the final with a disappointing 7.96m, as compared to his PB of 8.36m, a distance which eventually won China's Jianan Wang the gold at the Worlds. However, Sreeshankar's 7th position finish makes him join Rani as the second-best placed Indian athletes, right behind Chopra, in the 2022 edition.
Finally, it was Avinash Sable and his performance in the 3000m Steeplechase. His 8:31:75 placed him at the 11th position. The timing was far behind his PB of 8:12:48, which also happens to be the National record.