Tokyo 2020: Neeraj Chopra Wins Historic Javelin Gold for India

Neeraj Chopra won the men’s javelin on Saturday – with a best throw of 87.58 metres to claim an historic first Olympic athletics gold medal for India.

Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch, who claimed silver with 86.67 metres and Vitezslav Vesely won bronze with 85.44.

Chopra seized the lead with a throw of 87.03 on his first attempt, a distance no other competitor achieved during the final, winning India’s first gold of the Tokyo Games.

“It feels unbelievable,” said Chopra. “This is our first Olympic medal for a very long time, and in athletics it is the first time we have gold, so it’s a proud moment for me and my country.

“In the qualification round I threw very well so I knew I could do better in the final. I didn’t know it would be gold but I am very happy,” he added.

On Twitter, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared his reaction to the historic win, including that he spoke to Chopra to personally congratulate him.

Chopra is now the second Indian to win an individual Olympic gold medal after Abhinav Bindra won the 10-metre air rifle event at the 2008 Games.

“Your performance has further elevated what has been evident throughout the Games — that our athletes are not only capable of going toe to toe with the best, but are firmly establishing ourselves as the favorites,” Bindra wrote on Twitter.

“Our first individual gold might have taken over a century to come, but the comparatively miniscule time taken for you to bring home the second is a solid indication that we, as a sporting nation, are on the rise,” he added.