Tokyo Olympics: Neeraj qualifies for javelin throw final with superb first throw
Neeraj Chopra on Wednesday became the first Indian javelin thrower to enter the final of the Olympic Games with an impressive throw of 86.65m in his opening attempt that put him on top of the qualification round here.
The 23-year-old kept India’s hopes of an elusive Olympic medal from athletics alive by earning a direct entry into the final to be held on Saturday as he sent the spear well past the qualifying mark of 83.50m in his first attempt. Neeraj’s personal best is 88.07m.
His main rival, Germany’s Johannes Vetter, came second with a throw of 85.64m.
However, Shivpal Singh, failed to make the final cut with a below-par best throw of 76.40m to finish a lowly 12th in the Group B qualification.
Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem topped Group B with a throw of 85.16m.
Competing in his first Olympics, Neeraj took just a few seconds to make the final round. “I feel very good. In warm-up, my performance wasn’t so good, but then (in the qualifying round) my first throw had a good angle, and was a perfect throw,” Neeraj said.
He is, however, aware that the final will be a totally different contest where the world’s best will vie for a podium finish. “I will need to focus on the throw, and try to repeat this (performance) with a higher score,” said the youngster.
Aditi begins well
Golfer Aditi Ashok got off to a brilliant start, carding a four-under 67 in the opening round for a share of the second spot. She shared the position with world No. 1 Nelly Korda and was one shot behind the leader, Madalene Sagstrom of Sweden, who shot 66.
The other Indian, Diksha Dagar (76), had five bogeys and no birdies to lie tied at the 56th spot.