NEW DELHI: Neeraj Chopra broke into a smile after his fourth round throw of 88.13m. The tension eased somewhat after he stepped onto the provisional podium in second place after his best throw in the men’s event. javelin throw final in Eugene, USA.
As a nation slept, the reigning Olympic champion made history after becoming the first Indian athlete to win a silver medal at the Athletics World Championships with his best effort of 88.13m early Sunday morning (India time) to engrave his name in the record books. He failed, however, in his effort to become the first javelin thrower after Norwegian athletics great Andreas Thorkildsen to hold the Olympic and world titles at the same time. Thorkildsen had achieved the feat during the Berlin edition of the Worlds meeting.

However, it was Grenadian Anderson Peters who took the honors after effortlessly throwing the 90m spear three times to clinch the gold. Anderson, the reigning world champion, saved the best for last, throwing the spear 90.54m on his sixth and final attempt. Before coming to Worlds, he had a personal best of 93.07m in the Doha Diamond League. In the final, Anderson shot a series of 90.21m, 90.46m, 87.21m, 88.11m, 85.83m, 90.54m.

Neeraj had fouled on his first attempt after crossing the start line and caused them to achieve a sub-par effort of 82.39m on his second. He improved it further to 86.37m on his next attempt but was still out of medal contention in fourth place in the 12-man final. The defending CWG and Asian Games champion calmed his nerves frayed and threw the spear 88.13m to move into second behind Anderson.
Tokyo Olympics silver medalist Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic, who was in contention for a silver medal before Neeraj’s 88.13m effort knocked him out in third, landed a 83.48m on his fourth attempt to get off the peloton. His best throw so far was 88.09m. Neeraj attempted to catch Anderson on his last two attempts but fouled them after failing to reach the desired distance. Vadlejch settled for bronze to complete the podium. Another Indian, Rohit Yadav finished 10th among 12 finalists with his best throw of 78.72m.

In Friday’s qualifier, Neeraj booked his place in the final with an impressive throw of 88.39m on his very first attempt. Neeraj’s lone effort in Eugene was the third best of his career after his personal best distance of 89.94m at the Wanda Diamond League in Stockholm and an equally sensational 89.30m at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku.

It was Neeraj’s first time in the Worlds final. In his first outing at the 2017 Worlds in London, he failed to qualify for the final round. He was unable to clear the automatic qualifying mark of 83m, his best recorded throw being 82.26m. Neeraj had missed the 2019 Worlds in Doha after failing to recover from elbow surgery.



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