On Sunday, Neeraj Chopra accomplished a spectacular feat and cemented his place in history by winning the World Athletics Championships’ first-ever gold medal. In the men’s javelin throw final in Budapest, the outstanding Indian athlete reached previously unheard-of heights, becoming the first person from his nation to win this coveted trophy. Chopra’s second try in the championship event saw the javelin speeding through the air to an incredible distance of 88.17 metres, securing the top spot on the leaderboard in an exhibition of unmatched ability and tenacity. His performance in the previous 2022 edition of the Championships, where he joyfully won a silver medal, indicated a significant improvement from this victory.
Neeraj Chopra faced difficulties along the way to triumph. At 79 metres, the opening throw of the final came up short, leaving Chopra looking very disappointed. He deliberately stepped over the line to invalidate the throw and cause a foul in an effort to avoid recording the score. Chopra was relentless in his chase and called upon his best abilities for his crucial second effort. He sprinted with precision and his typical flair, buoyed by the overwhelming encouragement of the cheering audience, and joyfully celebrated before the javelin had even touched down.
Arshad Nadeem, a Pakistani competitor of Neeraj Chopra’s who finished second behind the Indian gold medallist with a respectable throw of 87.82 metres. Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic won bronze with a throw of 86.67 metres.
India’s Kishore Jena and DP Manu put on outstanding performances in the same competition, but they just missed the podium. With finishes of fifth and sixth, respectively, both racers earned spots among the top eight competitors. Manu’s outstanding performance resulted in a throw of 84.14 metres, while Kishore Jena’s personal best throw was 84.77 metres.
With this incredible victory, Neeraj Chopra, who is presently ranked first in the world for throwing the javelin, adds to his already distinguished career. The next year in Eugene, where Anderson Peters won the gold medal, he earned a silver medal despite having already won the Olympic gold in Tokyo 2020. Anju Bobby George, who won bronze in the women’s long jump discipline at the 2003 Paris Championships, was the only other Indian to have won a medal in this international championship.
Neeraj Chopra showed off his talent in the qualification round for the 2023 Championships’ men’s javelin final with a single throw that promptly guaranteed him a spot in the Sunday competition. The Olympic champion automatically qualified for the final with his first effort, which wowed with a phenomenal distance of 88.77 metres. Following his initial foul, Neeraj continued to perform admirably throughout the competition, covering distances of 88.17 metres, 86.32 metres, 84.64 metres, 87.73 metres, and 83.98 metres.
The Victory of Neeraj Chopra in Historical Context
Being the first athlete in history to simultaneously hold the titles of the Olympics and the World Championships in the javelin throw puts Neeraj Chopra in an elite group. He joins the company of illustrious athletes like Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway and the great Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic. Zelezny won gold in the Olympics in 1992, 1996, and 2000 along with victories at the World Championships in 1993, 1995, and 2001. On the other side, Thorkildsen won a gold medal in the Olympics in 2008 and won the World Championships in 2009.