Neeraj Chopra thrills at the Indian Grand Prix

Neeraj with the Commonwealth Games gold
Neeraj with the Commonwealth Games gold
Hrishabh Chandra

Neeraj Chopra is India's biggest hope for a track-and-field medal at the Tokyo Olympics. After all, he is the reigning Commonwealth and Asian Games champion, and the national record holder in the javelin throw event.

While he was one of the biggest attractions of the Indian Grand Prix currently underway in Patiala, Punjab, many of the top athletes chose to stay away. There were a lot of expectations that he would showcase his preparations for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics at the event, and he definitely didn't disappoint.

A New National Record

Neeraj Chopra secured the gold medal in the javelin throw event at Patiala, while breaking his own previous national record of 88.06 cm. Today, he bettered the record by 1cm as his best throw went for a whopping 88.07 cm.

His dominance is evident from the fact that the silver medallist Shiv Pal Singh's best effort was a distant 81.63m. Neeraj Chopra created the previous national record of 88.06m at the 2018 Asian games, where he was also the flag bearer of the Indian contingent.

Neeraj Chopra has consistently been a beacon of hope for India in track-and-field events, an area where hopes of a medal have traditionally remained bleak. However, Chopra's performances on the international circuit in the past few years have ignited hopes for a long awaited track-and-field medal at the Olympics.

Neeraj Chopra's Olympic hopes?

Thomas Rohler is the reigning Olympic champion, who recorded a throw of 90.30m at the Rio Olympics. The all-time record for Javelin Throw at the Olympics belongs to Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway, who threw a distance of 90.57m at the 2008 Beijing Olympic games.

Jan Zezelny of the Czech Republic is considered to be the greatest Olympic javelin athlete of all time, as he won 3 back to back gold medals at the 1992 Barcelona Games, the 1996 Atalanta Games and the 2000 Sydney Games.

Neeraj Chopra isn't too far away from the Olympics' all-time record, and his own personal best throws would have been enough to secure him a gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, or the 2004 Athens Olympics.

If he does achieve his personal best at the Olympics, he would virtually be assured of a medal judging by the previous records in the event at the Olympics. Given Neeraj Chopra's ability to perform even better under pressure, as was evident from his gold medals at the Commonwealth and the Asian games, Indian fans are allowed to dream even of a gold medal in future from this rising star.

Edited by Rohit Mishra


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