New Delhi, 29 August: Neeraj Chopra, once again, scripted a new chapter as with a Javelin throw of 88.17m, he became the first Indian to win a gold medal at the senior world Athletics championships in Budapest, Hungary.
Going Heading into Budapest Neeraj was already the first Indian track and field athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympics (Tokyo 2020), the Diamond League title (2022) and the junior world championships (2016)
With a best throw (88.17m) which he achieved in his second attempt, he added another noteworthy entry to his list of many firsts. The medal completed a very special set for Neeraj who has now won every major title possible in his sport. Besides his Olympic and world championship golds and the Diamond League title, He is also an Asian Athletics Championships (2017), Asian Games (2018) and Commonwealth Games (2018) champion.
He dedicated the victory to his fans in India, saying “I would like to thank every Indian because they are staying up all night to support me. This medal is for them. I became an Olympic champion first, and now, I am a world champion. We (Indians) can do anything. Just keep working hard,” Neeraj said after his victory.
“Everyone said this is the only medal I was missing – it has been achieved now. I still need to hit the 90m mark. I thought I would be able to do it today, but winning the gold medal was the most important outcome. Many competitions are coming up and I have time on my side, so I will work harder for those competitions,”
"This was great," Neeraj said. "After the Olympic gold I really wanted to win the world championships. I just wanted to throw further. This is brilliant for the national team but it was my dream to win gold at the world championships'' adding 'this has been a great championship for India and I am proud to bring another title to my country,
"I don't think I am the best thrower here. I wanted to throw more tonight. I wanted to throw more than 90m tonight but it needs all parts of the puzzle to be there. I couldn't put it all together this evening. Maybe next time." he added
Neeraj who holds the javelin national record of 89.94m, also won the silver medal at last year’s world championships in Oregon. It was India’s first-ever silver medal at the global track and field showpiece and the country’s second medal ever after Anju Bobby George won the women’s long jump bronze at Paris 2003.
After fouling his first attempt, Neeraj hurled 88.17m to take the top spot and stayed there for the remainder of the final.
Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem, the reigning Commonwealth Games champion, took the silver with a season’s best of 87.82m while the Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch won bronze with 86.67m.
The other two Indians in 12-man javelin throw finals also logged impressive results. Kishore Jena finished fifth with a personal best haul of 84.77m while DP Manu was sixth with 84.14m.
In javelin throw final: Indian marks; Neeraj Chopra: No Mark, 88.17m, 86.32m, 84.64m, 87.73m, 83.98m, DP Manu: 78.44m, No Mark, 83.72m, No Mark, 83.48m, 84.14m, Kishore Jena: 75.70m, 82.82m, No Mark, 80.19m, 84.77m, No Mark
Meanwhile, in the women’s 3000m steeplechase finals Parul Chaudhary finished 11th but her mark was enough to set a new Indian national record and breach the Paris Olympics qualifying standards for the event.
Parul who had clocked a personal best of 9:24.29 in the heats at Budapest, improved her timing to 9:15.31 in the final. Lalita Babar held the previous record with a timing of 9:19.76, achieved at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The Indian's mark was also better than the Paris 2024 Olympics qualifying standards for the women’s steeplechase event, set at 9:23.00.
Bahrain’s Winfred Yavi, the 2018 Asian Games champion, won the 15-woman 3000m steeplechase final with a new world-leading time of 8:54.29. Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech, the 2019 world champion, had to settle for the silver with a season’s best run of 8:58.98. Her compatriot Faith Cherotich, a former U20 world champion, took the bronze, clocking a new personal best of 9:00.69.
The Indian 4x400m relay team of Muhammed Anas Yahiya, Amoj Jacob, Muhammed Ajmal Variyathodi and Rajesh Ramesh finished fifth with an impressive time of 2:59.92. The same quartet had clocked a new Asian and national record of 2.59.05s to qualify for the finals.
Team USA, with a new world-leading time of 2:57.31, won the gold medal. France, with a new national record of 2:58.45, and Great Britain, with 2:58.71, completed the podium.