I will try to change the colour of the medal next time: Neeraj Chopra

The 24-year-old produced a best throw of 88.13m, which came in the fourth round, to finish second behind defending champion Anderson Peters of Grenada



Silver medallist India's Neeraj Chopra celebrates after the men's javelin throw final. — Reuters
Silver medallist India's Neeraj Chopra celebrates after the men's javelin throw final. — Reuters

By PTI

Published: Sun 24 Jul 2022, 11:41 PM

The gold eluded him but with a landmark silver, Olympic champion javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra still created history one more time, becoming only the second Indian and first male track and field athlete to win a medal in the World Championships.

The 24-year-old Chopra, who had come into the showpiece as a hot medal favourite, produced a best throw of 88.13m, which came in the fourth round, to finish second behind defending champion Anderson Peters of Grenada (90.54m), in Eugene, Oregon, USA.

Neeraj Chopra celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony. — Reuters
Neeraj Chopra celebrates on the podium during the medal ceremony. — Reuters

Legendary long jumper Anju Bobby George was the first Indian to win a medal — bronze — in the World Championships in the 2003 edition in Paris.

“Conditions were challenging, there was wind coming from the front. It was a tough competition with very tough competitors. It was challenging for me, but I was confident that a good throw will surely come," the 24-year-old Chopra said during a virtual press conference.

“I was making the effort (in the first three throws) but it (big throw) was not coming. It was challenging but good that I made a comeback.

“I am happy to have won a silver, the country’s first medal in World Athletics Championships after 19 years, I will take it. World Championships is even tougher than Olympics, its record is higher than that of Olympics.”

Chopra felt some tightness on his thigh after the fourth throw and could not do well in the last two throws which were fouls.

“I thought even the fourth throw could have gone farther. After that, I felt something on my thigh and could not do my best in next two.

“I had strapping (on thigh). I will know the status tomorrow (Monday) morning because my body is still warm after the event. I hope there should not be any issue for the upcoming events, Commonwealth Games.”

His trademark big smile was back after the fourth round throw as Chopra, the son of a farmer from Khandra village near Panipat in Haryana, did the ‘calm-down’ gesture and showed the victory sign with his right hand.

Chopra had won Indian athletics’ maiden gold in the Tokyo Olympics last year. He is only the second Indian to have won an individual gold in the Olympics, after shooter Abhinav Bindra, who clinched the yellow metal in 2008 Beijing Games.

“An athlete cannot win a gold every time but we have to keep trying and give our best. I have learnt a lot from the challenging situation today, and I will work for improvement.

“I have won gold at all levels except this World Championships silver. I will try to change the colour of medal (to gold) in the next World Championships in 2023 (in Budapest). The other competition I want to win gold is the Diamond League,” he said.

He said that he spoke to Pakistani athlete Arshad Nadeem who finished fifth with a best throw of 86.16m.

“I spoke to him after the event and told him that he had performed well. He said he had problems on his elbow. He was not doing well at the start so I told him he made a good comeback.”

Chopra's silver saw India featuring in the medal table of the worlds for the first time in nearly two decades. India were placed at joint 28th in the standings.

The other Indian in the fray, Rohit Yadav finished at 10th with a best throw of 78.72m. Rohit had finished 11th overall in the qualification round with a best throw of 80.42m.

India’s Eldhose Paul finished ninth in the men’s triple jump final while the 4x400m relay team ended 12th overall.


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