Create

Tokyo Olympics 2020: Neeraj Chopra can win a medal but Gold seems out of his reach

Neeraj Chopra is India's biggest hope for an Athletics medal in Tokyo
Neeraj Chopra is India's biggest hope for an Athletics medal in Tokyo

Neeraj Chopra, the 23-year-old star Indian Javelin thrower, is expected to win India's first ever Olympic medal in athletics at the Tokyo Olympics. He is currently one of the best javelin throwers in the world. Chopra recorded a personal best of 88.07m at the Indian Grand Prix 3 in Patiala earlier this year and that he is fourth on the list of athletes with best throws this year.

After a long break from international competition due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Neeraj Cho began his preparation for the Tokyo Olympics last month. He is yet to reach his peak, but is improving with each outing.

In his last competitive event at the Kuortane Games in Finland, Chopra won the bronze with a throw of 86.79m. This was a significant improvement on the 83.18m he threw at Portugal in an earlier event.

At the Finland meet, Neeraj Chopra finished behind German world No. 1 Johannes Vetter (93.59m) and Trinidadian Keshorn Walcott, whose 89.12m effort was a season’s best for the two-time Games medalist.


Why Neeraj Chopra's chances of winning a medal have increased

Defending champion Thomas Roehler of Germany will not be in Tokyo due to injury
Defending champion Thomas Roehler of Germany will not be in Tokyo due to injury

Neeraj Chopra's chances of winning a medal in Tokyo have increased largely due to the withdrawal of two top throwers. Defending Olympic champion Thomas Roehler (Germany) and 2019 World Championships silver medalist Magnus Kirt (Estonia) have both withdrawn from this year's Games with injuries.

Despite their absence, the competition is intense and it’s not just Vetter and Walcott that the current Asian champion has to contend with. Marcin Krukowski (Poland) - who has the season’s second-best throw of 89.55m –, Gatis Cakss (Latvia; SB of 87.57m) and Arshad Nadeem (Pakistan; SB of 86.38m) could all pip him to the podium in Tokyo.


Why the gold is most probably out of Chopra's reach

Johannes Vetter is the hot favorite for the gold in Tokyo. The German is one of the greatest javelin throwers of all time and is in a league of his own. Vetter's best throw of the season so far is 96.29m, almost 7m more than the next best thrower.

Johannes Vetter is a firm favourite for to secure gold at the Tokyo Olympics (Courtesy: Twitter)
Johannes Vetter is a firm favourite for to secure gold at the Tokyo Olympics (Courtesy: Twitter)

Vetter's dominance is such that most of his recorded throws are over 90m. In order to beat Vetter, Chopra would have to produce a throw of at least 90m, which will put the German under pressure and perhaps force him to underperform. But this is better said than done considering the Indian’s performances leading up to the event.

A gold medal in Tokyo may look like a long shot, but Neeraj Chopra’s prospects of securing a podium finish are definitely promising.

Quick Links

Edited by Anantaajith Ra
Be the first one to comment