I wanted to throw more than 90m, says Neeraj Chopra after historic gold
Neeraj Chopra made history by being the first Indian to win a gold medal at the World Athletics Championships, but the javelin thrower admitted that he missed the 90m goal. Nonetheless, he achieved his greatest throw of 88.17m on his second try, maintaining his lead right up until the very end.
Arshad Nadeem, the Commonwealth Games champion with 87.82 m bagged a silver medal while Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch secured the bronze with a best throw of 86.67 m. In the post-game presser, a visibly unhappy Neeraj said, "I wanted to throw more than 90m tonight. But it needs all parts of the puzzle to be there. I couldn't put it all together this evening. Maybe next time."
The 25-year-old gained the lead in the second round, and it held until the final, but he still longed to shatter his own record and push it even further in his final throw.
"After the second round, I was thinking of pushing myself because I knew that I could get a better throw. But there is a lot of pressure on technique and speed. We have to push a lot in the qualifying round. There was only a single day for recovery so it was also a big factor. I go forward with the motivation of pushing myself till the last throw," Neeraj said.
The Tokyo Olympic gold medalist wasn't the only Indian in the final; Kishore Jena and DP Manu also competed and placed fifth and sixth, respectively, with best distances of 84.77 and 84.14 metres, respectively. After winning a silver in 2022, this was Neeraj's second medal at the World Championships. Anju Bobby George had previously won bronze in the women's long jump for her nation in the 2003 World Championships. Additionally, he won gold in the 2018 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
The Asian Games in Hangzhou, which are set to take place from 23 September to 8 October, will see Neeraj return to the playing field. The 25-year-old javelin thrower's final major competition of the year will be this one.