What’s the story?
19-year-old Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has brought pride to the nation with his performance at the prestigious Diamond League by finishing fifth having produced his best effort of 84.67m in his fourth attempt.
The IAAF Diamond League is an annual series of track and field meetings being held from 2010 and was originally intended to replace the IAAF Golden League, which was held annually since 1998. This year, the eighth edition of the tournament, which started on the 5th of May, will be continuing up to September and has 14 meetings scheduled.
This was Chopra’s debut at the Diamond League held in Paris on Sunday, and he has clearly been able to make a mark with his remarkable performance.
The heart of the matter
From being a little-known junior to being a World Under 20-Champion to debuting at the Diamond League, Chopra has shown relentless effort and perseverance in what he does. He has been able to defy his age and limited experience to win accolades like the one that he won at the World Junior Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland with an astounding throw at 86.48m. Following this, Chopra delivered another notable throw of 85.63 m at Patiala.
In his first senior competition, Chopra started with a throw of 79.54m, moving on to a better 81.32m in his second attempt. His third attempt dipped to a 78.69m but his fourth attempt was his best in the event at 84.67m, dipping back in his fifth attempt to 79.52m.
The event saw 10 elite athletes from across the world compete for the best throw including an Olympian. The invitation itself for the event is reserved for the best in the sport and it was exhilarating to watch Chopra perform. This junior champion is currently ranked at number 12 in the senior list and his coach predicts that he is moving towards competing at the next Olympics in Tokyo.
The gold medal was bagged by Germany’s Johannes Vetter who managed a distance of 88.74m with Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch at second place with a personal best of 88.02m. Olympian Thomas Rohler from Germany finished third with a noteworthy effort of 87.23m.
Chopra’s next destination is the Asian Athletics Championship that is to be held in Bhubaneswar in the upcoming week between 6th and 9th of July and he carries forward the nation’s best wishes with him for the tournament. Furthermore, he has already qualified for the World Championships event that is slated to be held in August.
To achieve what he has in the age of 19 is definitely a one-in-a-generation achievement and with his passion and consistency, the road only looks bright.