The watch for India’s second particular person Olympic gold medallist continues. Shooter Abhinav Bindra was the primary to do it on the 2008 Beijing Olympics; when he denied Henri Hakkinen with a remaining shot of 9.7 within the males’s 10-meter air rifle occasion to clinch prime honors. Since August 11, 2008, a couple of athletes have come shut however none have managed to go all the best way. 13 years later, a younger and promising athlete in Neeraj Chopra has a probability of making historical past on the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
But how did India’s javelin sensation Chopra turn into a big medal contender for the nation?
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The journey started with the Haryana-born javelin thrower bursting onto the scene in 2016. He bagged gold within the 2016 South Asian Games with a throw of 82.23m and with that, he additionally equaled the Indian nationwide report. As it turned out, 2016 proved to be a actually profitable year for him as he went on to set a new world junior report by profitable the IAAF World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.
In 2017, on the Asian Athletic Championships, he clinched one other gold medal with a throw of 85.23m. A year later on the Commonwealth Games, Chopra scripted extra historical past as he pocketed the gold medal with a season-best throw of 86.57m, becoming a member of an elite checklist of Indian athletes to win a gold medal on their CWG debut.
In 2016, he equalled the nationwide report and at last managed to get the monkey off his again in May, 2018, as he threw the rod 87.43m on the Doha Diamond League.
A couple of months later in August, Neeraj threw a distance of 88.06 m to win gold within the Men’s javelin throw on the 2018 Asian Games and set a new Indian nationwide report, bettering his personal earlier report. He started the occasion because the flag-bearer on the opening ceremony and ended it with the best prize.
As they are saying, no success story is full with out setbacks and struggles. Chopra’s career path isn’t any completely different as he suffered a main shoulder harm in 2019 and had to bear surgical procedure in May that year. He was out of motion for the rest of six months, forcing him to miss the complete season.
However, upon his return to motion, he did not waste any time in leaving a mark and reminding everybody of his pedigree as he threw 87.86m at his first competitors after an elbow harm assured a ticket to Tokyo.
The pandemic-enforced halt has solely allowed the 23-year-old allowed him to compete in a handful of competitions within the lead-up to his Olympics debut. In March 2021, he threw 88.07m within the Indian GP, setting a new National report. Earlier within the year, he competed in Portugal and secured a gold medal with an 83.13m throw.
Chopra, who’s at present being coached by German bio-mechanics knowledgeable Klaus Bartonietz, most not too long ago took half within the Kourtane Games in Finland. Chopra’s finest throw measured 86.79m which he got here in his second try.
With lengthy locks and power in his arms, Chopra heads into his first-ever Summer Games carrying a billion hope. So much is predicted of a 110-plus-athlete contingent travelling to Tokyo but when one was to place the burden of expectations on athletes in descending order, Chopra can be on the prime of the checklist. The solely question is: Can he get the job performed?