KNOW YOUR STAR – NEERAJ CHOPRA
Neeraj Chopra has single-handedly raised the standard of the Indian athletics. The javelin thrower is one of the most sensational athletes. He is a world-class thrower who is consistent in throwing the javelin above 85 metres. Let’s have a look at his journey so far.
Neeraj was born in Panipat on the 24th of December 1997. He first hit the headlines of the newspapers when he won the gold medal at the 2016 South Asian Games. His throw of 82.23 metres was equal to the national record.
In the 2016 IAAF World Under-20 Championships, he maintained his form. He set world junior record of 86.48 metres. He was 18 years when he achieved this feat in Bydgoszcz (Poland).
He continued to improve. He added another gold to his collection. This time it was from the 2017 Asian Athletics Championship in Bhubaneswar. His best throw was of 85.23 metres.
Neeraj posted season’s best throw of 86.41 metres in men’s javelin throw at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He became the first Indian to win the gold medal in the Javelin at the CWG.
His National record-breaking spree continued. He raised the level of the NR. At the Doha Diamond League in May 2018, he threw the javelin to a distance of 87.43 meters. Under the guidance of German coach Uwe Hohn, he continued to improve. Once again, he broke his own NR at the 2018 Asian Games. His third try of 88.06 metres completed the job. He clinched Gold, this time at Jakarta. It was the first Gold medal for the nation at the Asian Games in Javelin throw.
2019 was a forgettable year for Neeraj. An elbow injury remained his constant annoying companion throughout the season. He missed opportunities during the IAAF Diamond League, the Asian Athletics Championship, and the World Athletics Championships.
After remaining in rehabilitation in 2019, he returned to action in 2020. In Potchefstroom (South Africa), he hurled the javelin to a distance of 87.68 metres. It was enough to breach the Olympic Qualifying mark of 85.00 metres. Recovery couldn’t have been sweeter than this. With this mark (87.68 meters), he could have won silver in Rio 2016 and Bronze in IAAF World Athletics Meet in 2019.
Just as he was preparing well for the biggest event of his career, Tokyo 2020 was called off. Many people regarded it as a blessing in disguise. Now, he has some more time to heal the injury.
After Anju Bobby George, Neeraj Chopra is the best athlete in the Indian circuit. He can emulate the path of great Anju. He has put India on the global Athletics map. Still, he is trying hard. Neeraj is 22. Age is on his side. Neeraj can end the long painful wait of Indian Athletics fan with his charisma and efforts.
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