Neeraj Chopra scripted history at the Asian Games 2018 on Monday, winning India’s first-ever gold in javelin throw at the quadrennial continental event. He threw down a massive effort of 88.06m, which was not only his personal best, but also shattered the national record to take him to a much-awaited victory.
Neeraj’s gold is India’s only second medal in javelin throw in Asian Games history after Gurtej Singh won a bronze in 1982 in New Delhi. The 20-year-old Neeraj scored a top throw of 88.06 meters. Chopra’s competitors were far behind, with China’s Qizhen Liu (82.22 meters) taking silver and Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem (80.75 meters) clinching the bronze.
Neeraj has also dedicated his medal to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who died on August 16.
Born in the village of Khandra in Haryana’s Panipat district, Chopra is the son of a farmer. During his childhood, he wanted to be a cricketer but he soon realized his love for javelin.
He developed an interest in javelin at the age of 11 after being inspired by watching a thrower named Jaiveer practice at the Panipat Stadium. He was an obese child, weighing 80 kg at the age of 11. He then soon enrolled himself at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) sports hostel in Panchkula. Since then it has been a rollercoaster ride for him.
He has been trained by legendary Uwe Hohn. Hohn is the only man to to breach the 100m mark in javelin throw in 1984 when his throw was of 104.80 meters though in 1986, the records had to be restarted, making his record an eternal one
He has won Gold at some major events like the World Junior Championships in 2016, The Asian Championships in 2017, the South Asian Games in 2016 and the Commonwealth Games in 2018.