Good start pleases Neeraj Chopra
Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra qualified for his maiden World Championships final with a stunning first attempt throw of 88.39m as India witnessed a historic day at the event with two of its javelin throwers Rohit Yadav being the second one — making it to the medal round here.
The 24-year-old medal contender opened the Group A qualification round by sending his spear to 88.39m for his third career-best throw, here on Thursday. He finished second best overall behind defending champion Anderson Peters of Grenada, who topped Group B with his opening round effort of 89.91m.
“It was a good start. I’ll give my 100 per cent in the final. We’ll see. Every day is different. I’ll just give my best. We don’t know who can throw far on any given day,” Neeraj said after his event.
“There is a little bit of zigzag in my run-up. I shook a little bit, but it was a good throw. There are so many throwers in good shape now. Five-six throwers have thrown PBs this year. Everybody is in tremendous form,” he added.
His qualification round lasted a few minutes as he did not need to take the remaining two throws after breaching the automatic qualification mark on his first attempt. A competitor gets three throws in the qualification round. Those who cleared 83.50m or the 12 best performers across two qualification round groups qualified for the final on Sunday (7.05am IST).
Neeraj, who has a personal best of 89.94m, had competed in the 2017 London World Championships with the hope of at least making it to the finals but managed only 82.26m to fall short of the automatic qualification mark of 83m. He had missed the 2019 World Championships in Doha as he was recovering from an elbow surgery.
Tokyo Olympics silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic also qualified for the final with a first-round throw of 85.23m. He was the second automatic qualifier from Group A, along with Neeraj, and fourth overall. If Neeraj wins in the final on Sunday, he will become only the third male javelin thrower to follow Olympic success with World Championship gold after Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen (2008-09) and world record holder Jan Zelezny of Czech Republic in 2000-01 and 1992-93.