With 45 days to go for Tokyo Olympic Games, All India Radio will regularly profile some of the biggest Indian medal contenders. Today we feature India’s most prominent young athlete, Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra.
Born on 24th December 1997, Neeraj Chopra is India’s biggest medal prospects at the Tokyo Games, despite the history that our country has never won an Olympic medal in Javelin throw. The 23-year-old established himself as one of the brightest track-and-field stars ever since he won a stunning gold medal at the 2016 Junior World Championships in Poland. In fact, he broke the Junior World Record with a throw of 86.48 metres which was better than the distance thrown to win the bronze medal a month later at the Rio Olympics. Neeraj further proved his supremacy in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games.
At the 2018 Asiad in Jakarta, he established a new National Record with a throw of 88.06m. In 2019, Neeraj had an elbow surgery on his throwing arm which prevented him from taking part in the Diamond League and the Asian Championships. He made an impressive comeback, post-surgery, by qualifying for the Tokyo Games with a throw of 87.86 metres at the ACNE League in South Africa in January 2020. Like any other top athlete in the world, Neeraj missed quality competitions since then due to the COVID-19 pandemic for more than a year now. But, he broke his own National Record in March this year, throwing a distance of 88.07 metres in Patiala.