Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra clinched the gold medal with a throw of 86.48m, a new U-20 world record, in the IAAF U-20 World Championship in Bydgoszcz, Poland, on Saturday.
The 19-year-old’s stunning throw came in his second attempt in the final. In his first attempt, he threw 79.66m. His second attempt (86.48m) set the new world record, a four-metre improvement in his personal best and three metres more than the Olympics qualifying mark.In the third attempt, Chopra breached the 78.36m mark.He committed a foul in the fourth attempt. With this feat, Chopra shattered the previous record set in 2011 by Zigismunds (84.69m) of Latvia.
Chopra is only the third Indian athlete after discus throwers Seema Antil Punia (bronze in 2002) and Navjeet Kaur Dhillon (bronze in 2014) to have won a medal in the U-20 World Championship.The world record comes as a major boost for the Haryana thrower who missed the Olympics qualifying mark recently.
In February 2016, Chopra came up with his previous personal best of 82.23m in the 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati to equal the national record. Today, the Haryana thrower qualified for the final in his first attempt with an effort of 78.20m. Chopra, topped both groups in the qualification round ahead of Anderson Peter of Grenada (76.20m) and Mark Xaver of Hungary (74.80). Chopra has been training in Europe since May with Australian coach Garry Calvert.Calvert said: “Neeraj is a focused athlete. He was unfazed after failing to qualify for Rio. I am very happy with his performance.”