Tokyo Olympics | Neeraj Chopra qualifies for javelin throw final

India’s Neeraj Chopra competes in the qualification round of the men's javelin throw at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, in Tokyo.   | Photo Credit: AP

Neeraj Chopra topped the qualification round and sailed into the javelin throw final at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday.

The 23-year-old's first throw of 86.65m was enough as it went past the automatic qualification standard of 83.50m which only six men crossed. And the overall rankings at the end of the qualification round had a strange look with Neeraj on top followed by Germany's world leader Johannes Vetter, who struggled initially before making the cut with his last round effort of 85.64m. 

In third place was Pakistan's Arshad Nadeem with 85.16m. It was the first time a Pakistan athlete was entering an Olympic final in athletics.

Asian Games champion Neeraj is the 12th Indian in athletics and the first javelin thrower to enter an Olympic final. He is also the first to finish on top of the qualification round. 

Meanwhile, Asian silver medallist Shivpal Singh, the other Indian in the fray who has a personal best of 86.23m, was nearly 10m behind that as he finished 12th in his group and 27th overall with 76.40m. Only the top 12 made the final.

Vetter, who had a series of 90m-plus throws this season, could manage only 82.04 and 82.08 in his first two throws and was in danger of being eliminated, but bounced back with the big one in the third.

Surprisingly, Poland's Marcin Krukowski (74.65m) and Trinidad and Tobago's 2012 London Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott (79.33m), who had both gone over 89m this year and who were on the second and third spots in this year's world list, failed to make it to the final.

Also out were Grenada's 2019 World champion Anderson Peters (80.42m) and Latvia's Gatis Cakss (78.73m) who was this year's No. 4.

With many big names crashing out, Neeraj's chances of securing the country's first Olympic medal in athletics has brightened. The former World junior champion was a picture of confidence today. The final will be held on August 7.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 3:47:45 PM |

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