Tokyo : Neeraj Chopra created history by becoming independent India’s first athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympics by winning the men’s javelin throw at Tokyo 2020 with a best throw of 87.58 in the men’s javelin throw competition on Saturday. In the 1900 Paris Olympics, Norman Pritchard won silver medals in the 200m and the 200m hurdles. Both India and Great Britain claim Pritchard’s medal. Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch won silver with 86.67, while his countryman Vitezslav Vesely won bronze with 85.44.
This is now India’s best-ever medal haul at the Olympics, going past the six it won at the London Games in 2012. P.V. Sindhu (badminton), Lovlina Borgohain (boxing), the men’s hockey team and Bajrang Punia (wrestling) won bronze medals, Mirabai Chanu (weightlifting) and Ravi Kumar Dahiya (wrestling) won silver medals. This is also India’s second-ever individual Olympic gold medal. Abhinav Bindra bagged the country’s first individual gold at the Beijing Games in 2008.
Earlier, he booked his spot in the javelin throw final of the Tokyo Olympics. Neeraj unleashed his best in his first attempt in Group A to top the qualification round with a high of 86.65m. He comfortably went past the automatic qualification mark of 83.50m, and that was it. Done in about 12 seconds.
Neeraj topped the qualification, but his compatriot Shivpal Singh threw a best of 76.40m (Group B) and did not make it to the final. Arshad Nadeem threw 85.16m in Group B and became the first Pakistan athlete to reach a track and field final.
In a field of celebrated throwers, the 2012 gold medallist and 2016 silver medallist Keshorn Walcott and world champion Anderson Peters failed to make it to the final in a qualification round that threw up some unusually low distances.