Neeraj Chopra scripted history at the Tokyo Olympics as he bagged India's second individual gold medal at the Games and first in Track and Field with a monstrous throw of 87.58m in the Men's Javelin Throw. Chopra received a hero's welcome back in India upon arrival and tonnes of accolades for his 'Golden Throw'. However, lesser is known about his journey to the Olympic Podium.
Chopra's throw for National Record
Chopra made headlines in 2020 when he broke the national record with a gigantic throw of 88.07 metres, a centimetre ahead of the previous records. He had emerged back in form just in time before the Tokyo Olympics and it showed its final outcome at the National Stadium, Tokyo in 2021. Chopra had missed 15 months of training due to injury and had not participated in any international competition after sealing Olympic qualification with Shivpal Singh.
Chopra's switch from his 'favourite' javelin to try the newly launched Nordic Sport Carbon Javelins made significant headways for his training for Tokyo. He was indeed surprised as he broke the national record in Patiala and instantly started focussing on throwing with the new Nordic models.
What is special about the Nordic Sport Javelins?
The Nordic Sport javelins cruise in bad conditions and are better fancied in windy conditions if the throw is timely made. Chopra had previously been using the Nemeth make Javelins, which are usually known for their requirements for a perfect technique. However, on the contrary, the Nordic Sport makes are better suited for the ones with not so perfect techniques. It also has its advantage as far as a free flight path is concerned and is vibration-free in headwinds.
While the Nordic Sport javelins prevail in headwinds, the Nemeth makes has its provision for a better performance during tailwinds. The contrasting characteristics of the two types of Javelins made it every so important for the athletes to pick the correct Javelin as required during the events. The stiff Nordic Sport provides a better grip while the Nemeth makes prevail in terms of softness.
Chopra's exploits at Tokyo are clearly the result of adaptation to rather overcast conditions on the day of the reckoning and makes it ever so clear that his training with a larger type of javelins was put to good use by the 23-year old Olympic Champion.