Davinder Singh Kang qualified for the javelin throw finals at the World Athletics Championship on Thursday with his throw of 84.22 m clearing the qualification mark. Meanwhile, Neeraj Chopra who was anticipated to make history bowed out of the tournament after failing to clear the mark.
Devendra Singh Kang will go down in history books as the first Indian athlete to qualify for the javelin throw finals at the World Championships after he cleared the qualification mark of 83 metres in his third and final attempt in spite of carrying a shoulder injury that he had suffered during the Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi in May.
Competing in group B, the 26-year old was under immense pressure to clear the qualification mark after throwing the iron spear to a distance of 82.22m and 82.14m in his first two attempts respectively.
Out of the thirteen throwers that qualified for the finals from group A and B, Kang is placed seventh and will compete in the finals on August 12th. The qualification is all the more special as it made him the first ever Indian to qualify for the finals at any World Championships.
"Once I came to know that Neeraj did not qualify (for the final round), I wanted to qualify for it. I wanted to do something for the country, I wanted to do something which no Indian has done before. By the grace of God, I did something for the country," Kang told PTI.
"I have been carrying a right shoulder injury which I sustained in May during the Indian Grand Prix but it is not that big a problem. Our team masseur put these straps today and I am OK. But I had to ask my friend Sri Lankan competitor (Waruna Rankoth Pedige) to do some stretching before my third and final throw," he said showing his right shoulder injury.
"It (injury) will be all right after tomorrow's rest. I want to give my best in the final round on August 12 and win a medal for the country," he added.
Earlier in the day, World Junior Championships record holder Neeraj Chopra crashed out of the tournament after failing to clear the 83m mark in three throws. Neeraj's best throw was measured at 82.26m which was also his opening throw of the tournament.
The 19-year old was considered as India's best chance for a medal owing to his personal best effort of 86.48m and season's best of 85.63m. The youngster has thrown the spear over the 85m mark three times this season and after competing at two Diamond League appearances in Paris and Monaca last month - where he had finished fifth and seventh respectively, he was considered India's best bet for a medal.
"I tried my best but I could not clear the automatic qualification mark of 83m and I am disappointed. I gave a lot of effort in the first throw but it missed the 83m mark by a few centimeters. There were some problems in the second throw and the third one also did not go the distance (of 83m). I have been training hard for this World Championships but I could not do well in the actual competition," Chopra said after the event.
"It would have been ideal if a coach had come with me but that is not in my hands. I don't know what had happened today, I cannot say now whether it was
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