24 July, Bydgoszcz (Poland)
Neeraj Chopra of India created a new junior world record on his way to the gold medal in the men’s javelin throw event at the IAAF World U20 Championships here.
Chopra hurled the javelin to a distance of 86.48 metres at the Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak Stadium here on Saturday to beat the previous record of Lativia’s Zigismunds Sirmais by nearly two metres.
Chopra thus became the first Indian to win a gold medal in the history of the World U20 championship. Sirmais had set the previous junior world record of 84.69 metres on June 22, 2011, in Bauska, Latvia.
Chopra, who is the first Indian athlete to set a world record at any level, bettered his previous personal best of 82.23 set at the South Asian Games earlier this year, which incidentally was also the old national record.
“I was hoping to throw far but I never expected to throw over 86 metres and break the world U20 record,” Chopra, who had registered 79.66 metres with his opening attempt, said.
“My ultimate target was to qualify for the Olympics but I didn’t make it. My other goal was to win at the World U-20 Championships,” he was quoted as saying by the official website of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).
Chopra led the 2016 World U20 list of season’s best performances with 82.23 metres in February. But he hadn’t surpassed the 80-metre line since then, which suggested that he may have peaked too early.
South Africa’s Johan Grobler added six metres to his lifetime best with 80.59 metres to claim the silver medal while Grenada picked up their first ever medal in a field event with Anderson Peters improving his national senior record to 79.65 metres.