Athletics

Who is Neeraj Chopra?

Gold medallist Neeraj Chopra at the medal ceremony of men’s javelin throw at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games

Gold medallist Neeraj Chopra at the medal ceremony of men’s javelin throw at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games   | Photo Credit: PTI

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Chopra became the first Indian to win a gold medal for India in javelin at the Asian Games

In 2018, Neeraj Chopra made history in two big sporting events of the year. After becoming the first Indian javelin thrower to win a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games in April, later that year he became the first gold medal winner for his country in the same sport in the history of the Asian Games.

In Jakarta for the Asian Games, Chopra shattered his own national record of 87.43 by clearing a distance of 88.06m. This was India’s second medal in javelin in Asian Games history after Gurtej Singh won bronze in 1982 in New Delhi.

Chopra’s Commonwealth medal was only the fifth track-and-field gold for India at the Commonwealth Games — the other four being Milkha Singh (1958), discus thrower Krishna Poonia (2010), the women’s 4x400m relay quartet of Manjeet Kaur, Sini Jose, Ashwini Akkunji and Mandeep Kaur (2010) and shot-putter Vikas Gowda (2014).

Born in the village of Khandra in Haryana's Panipat district, Chopra, the son of a farmer, started off by playing cricket. But he soon discovered his love for javelin and enrolled at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) sports hostel in Panchkula.

In 2015, he set a junior national record with a throw of 68.4m. In the World Under-20 Championships in Bydgosczsz, Poland, Chopra claimed gold and set a world junior record in javelin (800g) with a throw of 86.48m.

He also claimed gold in the 2016 South Asian Games with a throw that measured 82.23m. In the 2017 Asian Championships in Bhubaneshwar, Chopra added another gold, with a mark of 85.23 m.

Chopra's form ahead of the Commonwealth Games was nicely building up, with throws of 82.88m and 85.94m at the Patiala GP and the Patiala Federation Cup last month. It was a good comeback by Chopra after he failed to make the final round of the World Championships in London last August.

Before the Asian Games, he had scores of 87.43 85.17 and 85.69 in competitions in Doha, France and Finland.

Chopra did not always have the benefit of training under a coach, especially in the early part of his career. Australian Garry Calvert had coached him before he quit his position with the Indian contingent in 2017. Chopra now trains under Uwe Hohn.

Source – IAAF, ESPN.in, Indian Express, PTI

 

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 6:50:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/athletics/who-is-neeraj-chopra/article23541596.ece

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