World Athletics Championships: Memorable performances by Indian athletes
Here are some Indian athletes who have performed quite well in various events in the past at the World Athletics Championships.
India boasts of just a solitary medal won by Anju Bobby George in the World Athletics Championships. The nation's contingent will be eager to change that when the 2022 edition commences on 15th of July in Eugene, Oregon.
Close calls have been synonymous with Indian athletics for some time now. Be it Milkha Singh's 400m run at the 1960 Rome Olympics, or that 0.01 seconds that cost PT Usha her podium finish at the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984. All these, and more, were some of the heartbreaking moments for our revered athletes.
Similarly, the World Athletics Championship has witnessed such stories clad in an Indian jersey in its past editions. Good performances don't always promise a medal, which poignantly summarises the fate of some of the athletes mentioned below.
Anju Bobby George (2003, 2005, 2007)
While long jumper Anju Bobby George enjoys the privilege of being India's sole medal winner at the World Athletics Championship, which she achieved back in 2003, she has had some close calls in the global event as well.
In 2005, George missed her second medal at the championship at consecutive editions by just 0.03m. Yes, it was that close. The bronze was taken by Cuba's Yargeris Savigne who jumped a distance of 6.69m, while George came agonisingly close with 6.66m.
In the following edition in Japan, the athlete's number were a little low as compared to her prior performances at the championships. George's 6.53m earned her a 9th place finish in the women's long jump final.
Vikas Gowda (2011, 2013, 2015)
An erstwhile Asian champion, Vikas Gowda, was consistent in his ability to appear for the World championships for consecutive editions. However, he failed to place on the podium in any despite putting in some good throws.
In the South Korea edition in 2011, Gowda finished 7th in the men's discus throw final with a best distance of 64.05m, 2.03 short of the bronze medallist that year.
In the 2013 championships, Gowda again made his way into final but couldn't better his 7th position finish. Moreover, he slight dipped in his best throw, the final coming to 64.03m.
With an even lower 62.24, the Asian games medallist dropped his position further at the 2015 finals as compared to his previous outings. While he couldn't win a medal, his three consecutive appearances in the finals as India's representative will always be remembered.
Mayookha Johny (2011)
The triple jump specialist, Mayookha Johny, is another athlete who had reached the finals of her event. In the 2011 edition, Johny reached the finals of long jump with a best of 6.53m in the qualification round, but finished ninth overall with a mere 6.37m in the finals.
Lalita Babar (2015)
Lalita Babar became the first Indian steeplechaser to qualify for the finals of the World Championships after she clocked a national record 9:27.86 in the heats of 2015 edition. She then finished eighth in the finals with a timing of 9:29.64.
Annu Rani (2019, 2022)
Javelin thrower Annu Rani became the first Indian woman in the sport to reach the final of World Championships.
She finished 8th in the finals with a best throw of 61.12m. In the recent 2022 edition, she improved her performance from 2019 and finished 7th by throwing another 61.12m throw.
Neeraj Chopra (2022)
The Olympic champion added a second medal to India's tally at the WAC competition's history after winning the silver at the World Athletics Championships 2022. A massive 88.13m was sufficient for Chopra to join Anju Bobby George in the list of Indian athletes to have medalled at the Worlds.