Asianet NewsableAsianet Newsable

World Athletics Championships 2022: Neeraj Chopra enters finals via opening throw; netizens excited

The men's javelin throw of the 2022 World Athletics Championships began on Friday morning. Neeraj Chopra was into the finals with his superb opening throw.

World Athletics Championships 2022: Neeraj Chopra enters finals via opening throw; netizens excited-ayh
Eugene, First Published Jul 22, 2022, 9:48 AM IST

Tokyo Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra has qualified for his maiden World Athletics Championships final. He produced a good-looking first-attempt throw that landed 88.39 metres, with India cherishing a historic day at the event as two of its javelin throwers made it to the medal round. The 24-year-old Indian superstar, a hot favourite for an award, opened the Group A qualifiers by sending his spear to 88.39 metres, his third career-best throw, on Thursday, in Eugene, United States of America (USA). Chopra finished second best in the overall qualifiers, behind defending champion Anderson Peters of Grenada, who was at the top of Group B, whose opening round effort was 89.91 metres.

"It was a good start. I'll give my 100% in the final. We'll see. Every day is different. I'll give my best. We don't know who can throw far on any given day. There is a little bit of zigzag in my run-up. I shook a little bit, but it was a good throw. There are so many throwers in good shape now. Five-six throwers have thrown PBs this year. They are all in excellent shape," Chopra was quoted as saying after the event.

ALSO READ: World Athletics Championships 2022 - Javelin thrower Annu Rani reaches 2nd straight final

Chopra's qualifying round lasted a few minutes as he was not required to take his remaining couple of throws after he breached the automatic qualification mark on his opening attempt. In the qualifiers, a thrower gets three tries. The other Indian in the fray was Rohit Yadav, who also made it to the finals after finishing sixth in the Group B qualifiers and 11th in the overall standings, with his first-round throw of 80.42 metres.

Yadav's second throw was a foul, and he came up with a modest 77.32 metres throw in his final attempt. The 21-year-old Indian holds his season's and personal best of 82.54 metres, winning the silver last month in the 2022 National Inter-State Championships. Those who get clear of the 83.50 metres or 12 best performers across the two qualifier groups generally qualify for the finals, which will be held on Sunday (7:05 AM IST).

ALSO READ: S Dhanalakshmi, Aishwarya Babu fail dope test ahead of Commonwealth Games 2022

Chopra, who holds a personal best of 89.94 metres, competed during the 2017 World Championships in London with the hope of making it to the finals. However, he could manage just 82.26 metres and fell short of the automatic qualification mark of 83 metres. He also missed out on the 2019 World Championships in Doha while recovering from elbow surgery.

Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic was the second automatic qualifier from Group A, along with Chopra, and fourth overall. Chopra has defeated Peters on a couple of instances this season. At the same time, the 24-year-old Grenadian prevailed over the Indian on occasion, during the 2022 Diamond League Meeting in Stockholm in June, in their three meetings this season before this World Championships.

ALSO READ: World Athletics Championships 2022 - All eyes on Neeraj Chopra; Murali Sreeshankar enters as darkhorse

If Chopra goes on to win the final on Sunday, he will become only the third male javelin thrower to follow up his Olympic success with a World Championship gold. The last persons to do that were Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway (2008-09) and world record holder Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic (2000-01 and 1992-93).

Chopra became the first Indian track and field athlete to bag an Olympic gold last year and is the reigning Commonwealth Games (CWG) and Asian Games (AG) champion. He has been in terrific form this season, having broken his national record on several instances, doing first in his season-opening outing during the 2022 Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland, where he had a throw of 89.30 metres last month.

ALSO READ: World Athletics Championships 2022 - Neeraj Chopra aims to bank on consistency for glory

Chopra bettered his national record during the prestigious 2022 Diamond League Meeting in Stockholm last month with a throw of 89.94 metres, which happened to be 6 cm short of 90 metres, considered the gold standard in the sport. In between, he also won the gold at the 2022 Kuortane Games in Finland, which was a world-class competitive field, where he had a throw of 86.79 metres. Chopra's best before this season was his 88.07 metres throw, which he had produced during the 2021 Indian Grand Prix series in Patiala.

Vadlejch noted that Chopra and Peters will "really show a big performance." "Every javelin thrower wants to get the qualification mark with the first attempt and then to be able to leave. The surface is pretty good, and I believe the final can be very interesting. The attempts in the qualification do not mean much. The final can bring completely different performances. I would rather quickly forget the qualification; the final day is a new one," he stated.

(With inputs from PTI)

Follow Us:
Download App:
  • android
  • ios