Sunday, December 5, 2021

Javelin – The ultimate story, from hunting to Olympics

The origin of the game can be traced back to the primitive hunters, they used a long sharp wood stick for seeking food. Back then, the practice was for survival but with the evolution of mankind, the simple technique of throwing a stick evolved in a modern-day game, Javelin.

History of Javelin

Javelin occurred as a game in the ancient Greek Olympics, where the game (Javelin throw) was a part of five-event pentathlon. The Greek version of Javelin consisted of a thong (a narrow strip of leather) attached to the cord grip. The purpose of the Greek version of Javelin is still unclear, as no one knows whether the Greeks threw the javelin for accuracy or distance. From there the next stop for Javelin was the grand event- Olympics.

1908 – Inclusion of Javelin in Olympics

The first modern Olympic games were held in 1896 in Athens, Greece. Javelin throw was included in the Olympics in 1908, 12 years after the inception of the Olympics. In the initial years of Javelin in the Olympics, Sweden and Finland dominated by winning the first six gold medals. Eric Lemming of Sweden won the gold medal at the Olympic javelin event in 1908. Eric also defended his title in the 1912 Olympics.

Women participation in Javelin – 1932

It took almost 30 years for women to hold a javelin in a summer Olympics. In 1932, Los Angeles saw women’s participation in the Javelin event. Babe Didrikson (USA) won the gold with a 43.68-meter throw at the 1932 Olympics.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics will see two Indian javelin throw athletics – Neeraj Chopra and Shivpal Singh. Neeraj has been exceptionally well in the past two years. And can be the potential medal contender for India in the Javelin event.

Neeraj Chopra – Aiming for the gold

23 year old, Neera Chopra currently holds the national record for the Javelin. He has registered this record by an 88.07 m throw. He has also won gold at the 2018 Asian Games and 2018 Commonwealth Games. The current lot of Javelin throwers is a tough one and Neeraj has to put his best to compete among them.

Neeraj Chopra said in a media conference facilitated by the Sports Authority of India, “The current group of Javelin Throwers in the world is the best. Each of them is throwing above 87 or 88m. I feel my consistency is fine so far. I’ve been throwing above 85m. I feel my training has brought me closer to throwing 90m. My preparations are getting better to get close to the 90m mark but of course, it will depend on what happens on the D-Day in Tokyo.”

In the 2016 Olympics, the gold in the Javelin event was won by Germany’s Thomas Rohler with a 90.3m throw followed by an 88.24m throw by Julius Yego (Kenya), and the bronze was won by Keshorn Walcott (85.38m). The catch here is that Neeraj Chopra is constantly throwing 80+ throws and has a national record of 88.07 m. The same throw would have won the bronze in the 2016 Olympics, so hopes are high from Neeraj Chopra as he can put India on the Olympic podium, which only a few athletes have achieved in the past.

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