Neeraj Chopra, the 24-year-old Olympic champion became the first Indian athlete to win a medal in the men’s javelin throw event at the World Athletics Championships.
On Saturday evening at Hayward Field, he hurled a spear to a distance of 88.13m in his fourth attempt to win a silver medal and end India’s medal drought.
“Hope my silver medal will encourage youngsters to take up sports particularly athletics,” Chopra said after his podium finish.
At the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games held last year in Japan, Chopra became the first Indian to win individual track and field gold.
Since the inception of the World Athletics Championships in 1983, this is the second time an Indian athlete has won a medal. Way back in the 2003 edition of the Paris World Athletics Championship in France, Anju Bobby George won bronze in the women's long jump event.
According to Chopra, the conditions were challenging and he took time to adjust to the windy weather.
“I would it difficult to find my rhythm in the opening throw. Even the second and third throws were not good,” Chopra said, adding, “but managed to gain momentum on the fourth throw to hurl the spear to a distance of 88.13m. It was a big relief to me.”
Neeraj Chopra was India's best bet at the World Athletics Championships
After winning the silver medal, Chopra said it is not possible to win gold every time he steps on the field in major competitions.
“I have told my coach I try my best and sometimes I can win and sometimes I might not win a medal at all,” Chopra added.
The Tokyo Olympic gold medallist further spoke about how challenging conditions in Eugene was a big learning lesson, and the end result wasn't too bad considering all the factors at hand.
“Every competition is different. Saturday was another day of learning a lesson. Overall, it was a satisfactory day for me and Indian athletics as I could win medal,” he added.
Rohit Yadav, the second Indian in fray couldn’t enter the top-eight group to contest for a medal. Out of the 12 top athletes in the fray, four were eliminated after first three throws and only eight of them contested the medal round.