Neeraj Chopra wins gold in javelin throw, India's first Olympic medal in athletics
- Neeraj Chopra was one of the biggest medal hopefuls for India
- The 23-year-old Chopra hails from Haryana
- Chopra topped the qualifying round at the Tokyo Olympics
Chopra looked strong from the get-go. His first throw was 87.03 metres, second — the winning 87. 58 metres, and the third under 80 metres. However, his competition was far behind.
Czech Republic throwers Jakub Vadlejch (86.67m) and Vitezslav Vesely (85.44m) took the silver and bronze respectively.
Season leader and pre-tournament gold favourite Johannes Vetter of Germany, who had thrown the javelin to 90m plus distances seven times between April and June, was eliminated after the first three throws as he was placed ninth with a best effort of 82.52m.
With his fifth career best throw, Chopra has done something which the likes of late Milkha Singh and P T Usha could not do in 1960 and 1984 editions.
A pre-tournament medal contender, the 23-year-old Chopra fuelled the country's expectations by topping the qualification round with a stunning first round throw of 86.59m. And he did not let his country down.
Chopra's gold is India's 7th medal at Tokyo 2020, the best-ever medal haul for the country at a single edition of the Games. India won a gold medal in the Olympics for the first time since 2008.
Saturday was a tremendous day for India at the Olympics. Earlier in the day, Bajrang Punia took home the bronze medal in wrestling. Before that, golfer Aditi Ashok put on a splendid show, but finished fourth.