Neeraj Chopra World Athletics Championship 2023 : Two other Indians, Kishore Jena and DP Manu, also impressed on the big stage. Although they did not manage to make the podium, Jena finished fifth with a throw of 84.77m (personal best), while Manu finished sixth with a best throw of 84.14m.
The gold of the world was what was waiting to tickle Neeraj’s golden gear and he did it in style. In fact, the second throw was thrown a few yards behind the foul line and there was still room to add. 25-year-old Neeraj now has gold medals from Olympics (Tokyo 2021), Asian Games (2018) and Commonwealth Games (2018), U-20 World Championship (2016) besides last year’s Diamond League title.
In addition to Neeraj Chopra getting the inevitable, the drama and theatre of the javelin final increased when Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem cleared 87.82m (a season’s best) in the third attempt.
It turned out to be a gripping and nail-biting affair between India and Pakistan, fought in a European country that has little to do with cricket. The India-Pakistan Asia Cup match on September 2 was far from everyone’s mind. The Pakistani had to complete a respectable 90m plus throw at the Commonwealth Games last year and Neeraj no longer felt safe.
Places continued to change under Neeraj Chopra and Nadeem as Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic moved up to third in his fifth attempt with 86.67m, edging Germany’s Julian Weber into fourth. Neeraj cleared 86.32m, 84.64m and 87.73m in his third, fourth and fifth attempts. Nadeem was fourth with 87.15m and his fifth was a bad throw. The excitement was palpable and a throwback to all the historic Indo-Pakistani hockey and cricket matches that came down to the last, last five minutes and in this case, the last overs of both the bowlers. Nadeem was visibly under pressure on the final throw and threw his attempt almost five metres from the foul line. Apparently, the result was a throw of 81.86 metres. Jakub Vadlejch finished third and got bronze. “I’m used to being under pressure in every competition I participate in. But in big competitions like this (World Championships), which happen once every two to four years, I feel a lot more responsibility to do well. It’s just one thing. every time, thing to remember and that is to give 100 percent and stay focused,” said Neeraj.
“In addition to regular exercise, I often do visualisation, which I find quite enjoyable. It helps me feel like I’m already competing and creates a mental image – it’s become part of the routine. It helps me win medals in tough international competitions.
With the gold secured, Neeraj applauded the crowd in the athletics centre and finished it off with a throw of 83.98m. Interestingly, Neeraj started with a fake throw but hit the second strap which turned out to be golden.