Indian Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra qualified into the men’s final with a stunning throw of 86.65m at the Olympic Stadium on Wednesday.
The 23-year-old became the first Indian javelin thrower to progress for the finals of the Games who attained a qualification in the Men’s Long Throws Qualification -Group A. He was throwing the javelin in 15th position in the group, in just a few seconds, he sent spear well past the direct qualifying mark of 83.50 just in his first attempt.
After his qualification, Chopra was quoted saying that he was at his first Olympic Games, and it felt very good. “In the warm-up, my performance wasn’t so good, but then in the qualifying round, my first throw had a good angle and was a perfect throw,” he said.
Impressed by Chopra’s performance, Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra tweeted with a picture of Neeraj, calling it ‘a star is born’ moment.
His performance on Tuesday will be considered as one of the best performances by Indians in the Games as he finished ahead of gold-medalist and 2017 world champion Johannes Vetter of Germany.
The 28-year-old Vetter struggled in his first two throws before crossing the automatic qualification mark with an 85.64m final throw. He was lying at a dangerous seventh position but eventually qualified for the final at second.
Another thrower Lassi Etelatalo from Finland also automatically qualified in the first attempt with a first-round throw of 84.50m.
Shivpal Singh, another Indian in the fray, failed to make the final cut. With a below-par best throw of 76.40m in his first attempt, he failed to finish a lowly 12th in the Group B qualification which featured 16 athletes.
Meanwhile, at least 12 best performers will advance to the final of the men’s javelin throw. These 12 performers will be a compilation of competitors from Group A and B.