TOKYO, 7 Aug: Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra on Saturday became only the second Indian to win an individual gold in the Olympics, outperforming the field by quite a distance to notch up the first track-and-field Games medal for the country.
The 23-year-old farmer’s son from Khandra village near Panipat in Haryana produced a second round throw of 87.58 mtrs in the finals to stun the athletics world and end India’s 100-year wait for a track-and-field medal in the Olympics.
Chopra won the country’s seventh medal and first gold in this Olympics and joined shooter Abhinav Bindra (2008 Beijing Games) as India’s individual gold winners in the showpiece.
With this, the country surpassed the previous best haul of six medals achieved in the 2012 London Games.
Czech Republic throwers Jakub Vadlejch (86.67 mtrs) and Vitezslav Vesely (85.44 mtrs) took the silver and the bronze, respectively.
Chopra came into the final as a medal contender after topping the qualification round on Wednesday with a stunning first round throw of 86.59 mtrs. But few would have thought he would bludgeon his way to gold in such a dominant fashion at the grandest of stages.
With his fifth career best throw, Chopra has done something which the likes of late Milkha Singh and PT Usha could not do in the 1960 and the 1984 editions.
No Indian has won a medal in athletics since the country started taking part in the Games in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium. (PTI)