TOKYO: Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra on Saturday became only the second Indian to win an individual gold in the Olympics, out-performing the field by some distance to immortalise himself as the first track-and-field Games medal-winner for the country.
The 23-year-old son of a farmer from Khandra village near Panipat in Haryana produced a secondround throw of 87.58m in the finals to stun the athletics world and end India’s 100-year wait for a track and field medal in the Olympics.
Brimming with confidence with hardly any nerves on display, Chopra walked in like a rockstar to make the Tokyo Games India’s best-ever Olympic outing in what was the country’s final competitive outing at the ongoing edition.
His was the country’s seventh medal and first gold in this Olympics and he joined shooter Abhinav Bindra (2008 Beijing Games) in an elite and very hard-to-reach club of India’s individual gold winners in the showpiece.
With this, the country surpassed the previous best haul of six medals achieved in the 2012 London Games.
Apart from Chopra’s gold, India have won two silvers and four bronze medals.