Tokyo Olympics: It took only one throw for Neeraj Chopra to qualify for Mens Javelin Final (AP Photo)
Touted as one of Indias strongest bets for an Olympic medal, star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra started his campaign with some style.
The Indian qualified for the final of the mens javelin final with the best throw of 86.65m in the men’s javelin throw qualification in group A.
Only three athletes have qualified automatically from Group A. The throwers are Indias Neeraj Chopra with a throw of 86.65m, Germanys Johannes Vetter, favorite to win the gold, qualified in his third attempt with an effort of 85.64m. Finlands Lassi Etelatalo is the third automatic qualification with a throw of 84.50m.
The automatic qualifying mark is 83.50m or the 12 best throwers will advance to the final.
.@Neeraj_chopra1 made entering an Olympic final look so easy! ??— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) August 4, 2021
Neerajs FIRST attempt of 86.65m in his FIRST-EVER #Olympics was recorded as the highest in mens Group A, beating @jojo_javelins 85.64m ?#StrongerTogether | #UnitedByEmotion | #Tokyo2020 | #BestOfTokyo pic.twitter.com/U4eYHBVrjG
Johannes Vetter, tipped to be the favourite to win the event, has been in supreme touch. The German is the only man in the world to have thrown beyond 90.00 in the past 24 months. He has done so 18 times in competitions, including a record streak of seven competitions between April and June this year.
Javelin thrower Chopra said his build-up to the Tokyo Olympics has been quite challenging given the lack of competitive exposure.
However, he is coming to Tokyo with some form as in the Kuortane Games event in Finland on June 26, he won a bronze with a performance of 86.79m in a star-studded field comprising, among others, Olympics gold favourite German Johannes Vetter, who won the event with a massive throw of 93.59m.
Chopra has pulled out of the Diamond League at Gateshead due to visa issues and has taken part in only three international events since June 10. He had pulled out of top-level competition in Switzerland, owing to fatigue.
During his European stint, Chopra took part in three events -- in Portugal, Sweden, and Finland. In his previous two competitions in Europe, Chopra had come up with the best effort of 83.18m to win an event in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 10 before having a below-par performance of 80.96m at the Karlstad Grand Prix in Sweden on June 22.
Since qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics in South Africa, he has competed only twice, both in Patiala at the Indian Grand Prix in February and March, earlier this year. Its where hed set a new national record with a throw of 88.07m, which still is the second-best throw in the world in all competitions this season after Germanys Johannes Vetter 96.29m at the European Team Championships.