Neeraj Chopra revealed that he didn't let in the pressure of being an Olympic champion affect his performamce after his historic silver medal-winning feat at the World Athletics Championships 2022 on Sunday. (More Sports News)
Neeraj Chopra, who became India’s first-ever track and field athlete to win an Olympic gold last year in Tokyo, produced a best throw of 88.13m to finish second behind Anderson Peters (90.54m). Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic took the bronze with 88.09m.
Neeraj Chopra became only the second Indian and first male track and field athlete to win a medal in the World Championships after legendary long jumper Anju Bobby George – bronze – in the 2003 edition in Paris.
“I never had the presuure of being an Olympic champion. I just went in with a belief that I have to put my best today,” the 24-year-old said in a video shared by Athletics Federation of India.
Chopra began with a foul throw and had 82.39m and 86.37m to be at fourth after three rounds. He got his rhythm back with a big fourth round throw of 88.13m, his fourth career-best effort, to jump to second place, which he held on to till the end. His fifth and sixth throws were fouls.
Meanwhile the windy conditions at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon posed a big challenge for Neeraj and a groin pull after his fourth throw made all the difference on Sunday.
“It feels good to win a medal for the country. The windy conditions here posed a challenge for me today. The first two throws didn’t go as planned because of lack of warm-up, but after the fourth throw I felt good,” Neeraj Chopra was quoted as saying to Rev Sports after his event on Sunday.
“I also sustained a groin pull after the fourth throw and thought I would be able to better my show in the final two throws but there were lots of things going on in the mind at that time but still happy to win a silver for India,” he added.
“The World Championships will be back again next year and will aim to better my medal colour.”
Earlier, Chopra had topped the Group A qualification round and qualified for the final at second place behind Peters by sending his spear to 88.39m for his third career-best throw. 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. The 21-year-old Indian had recorded a season's and personal best of 82.54m while winning a silver at the National Inter-State Championships last month.