Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Neeraj Chopra and Rohit Yadav have qualified for the men’s javelin throw event final round after stunning performances during the World Athletics Championships 2022 qualification rounds in Eugene on Friday. (More Sports News)
The 24-year-old Indian, Neeraj Chopra, hot favourite for a medal maintained his consistency and secured his qualification mark in Group A, with a stunning first attempt throw of 88.39m. It was his third career-best throw.
Neeraj’s compatriot, Rohit Yadav, competing in his first-ever World Athletics Championships, qualified from Group B with a throw of 80.42m. The medal round will be held on Sunday at 7:05 AM IST.
While Neeraj’s first attempt was enough to grant him a place in Sunday’s final, Rohit’s had to perform in all his three attempts. He threw 80.42m in his first attempt but fouled on the second one. The Uttar Pradesh lad couldn’t better his mark in his third attempt and managed 77.32m.
"It was a good start. I'll give my 100% in the final. We'll see. Every day is different. I'll just give my best. We don't know who can throw far on any given day," Neeraj Chopra said after his event.
"There is a little bit of zigzag in my run-up. I shook a little bit, but it was a good throw. There are so many throwers in good shape now. Five-six throwers have thrown PBs this year. They are all in excellent shape," he added.
As the commentator predicted, "he wants one & done" #NeerajChopra does it pretty quickly & with ease before admin's laptop could wake up 🤣— Athletics Federation of India (@afiindia) July 22, 2022
With 88.39m, Olympic Champion from 🇮🇳 #India enters his first #WorldAthleticsChamps final in some style at #Oregon2022 pic.twitter.com/y4Ez0Mllw6
Defending champion Anderson Peters of Grenada qualified with a throw of 89.91m while Germany’s Julian Weber (87.28m) and Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch (85.23m) also book their places in the 12-man final.
Meanwhile, 2018 Asian Games bronze medallist Arshad Nadeem of Pakistan to qualified for the finals with a 81.71m throw. Neeraj Chopra, who has a personal best of 89.94m (Stockholm Diamond League), had competed in the 2017 World Athletics Championships but managed only 82.26m to fall short of the automatic qualification mark of 83m.
He had also missed the 2019 World Championships in Doha as he was recovering from an elbow surgery.
If Chopra wins in the final on Sunday, he will become only the third male javelin thrower to follow Olympic success with World Championship gold after Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen (2008-09) and world record holder Jan Zelezny of Czech Republic in 2000-01 and 1992-93.
Chopra had become the first Indian track and field athlete to bag an Olympic gold last year and is also the reigning Commonwealth Games and Asian Games champion.
He has been in tremendous form this season having broken his own national record twice. He did that first in his season-opening outing at the Paavo Nurmi Games at Turku in Finland with a throw of 89.30m on June 14. In the women’s category, India’s Annu Rani too qualified for the finals with her best effort of 59.60m on Thursday.
It was Annu Rani’s second consecutive javelin finals qualification at World Athletics Championships after her eighth-place finish in 2019 in Doha. The 29-year-old started with a foul throw before hurling her spear to 55.35m in her second. However, her best was reserved in the last attempt as made it to the 12-woman final.
Annu Rani has been in top form in the lead up to the World Championships as she broke her own national record with a throw of 63.82m in May at the Indian Open in Jamshedpur. In the final, it will tough for Annu Rani and need a superlative performance from the Indian to bag podium finish.
In other events, Eldhose Paul became the first Indian to qualify for the triple jump final at the World Championships with an effort of 16.68m. He finished sixth in Group A qualification round and 12th overall to make the cut for Sunday's final (6:50 AM IST).
The 25-year-old Paul, who reached here just a few days ago due to visa issues, has a season's and personal best of 16.99m which he had recorded while winning gold in the Federation Cup in April.
The two other Indians, Praveen Chithravel and Abdulla Aboobacker, disappointed as they failed to make it to the finals after below-par jumps of 16.49m and 16.45m respectively. Chitravel finished eighth in Group A, and 17th overall, while Aboobacker ended at 10th in Group B, and 19th overall.
Chitravel had produced the third longest-ever jump by an Indian with a stunning effort of 17.18m to clinch gold at the National Inter-State Senior Athletics Championships in Chennai last month. Aboobacker, who had won silver in the Chennai meet, has a season's and personal best of 17.19m.