Neeraj Chopra's javelin records, a telling graph
From an overweight 13-year-old kid who took up sports to gain confidence to becoming the first Indian track and field athlete to win an Olympic medal, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has come a long way.
Only in his early twenties, the Tokyo Olympics champion is barely at his peak.
However, what the Indian Army Subedar from Haryana has already achieved at his age is nothing short of staggering. In a short but impressive career, Neeraj Chopra has already erased several records, both national and global, to bring glory to India.
Here’s a look at Neeraj Chopra’s records.
First Indian track and field athlete to win an Olympic medal – Neeraj Chopra, Tokyo 2020
The moment the final throw was taken at the Tokyo Olympics men’s javelin throw event, Neeraj Chopra had secured another entry for himself in the history books.
With his second throw measuring 87.58m handing him the gold medal at Tokyo, Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian track and field athlete to win a medal at the Olympics.
Until Neeraj Chopra’s Tokyo heroics, India’s legacy in athletics at the Summer Games was highlighted only by heart-breaking misses. Milkha Singh and PT Usha agonisingly fell short of the podium by fraction of a second at Rome 1960 and Los Angeles 1984, respectively.
Neeraj Chopra’s gold medal at Tokyo ushered in a new era for Indian athletics. It was also India’s second Olympic gold at the Olympics, following shooter Abhinav Bindra’s 10m air rifle triumph at Beijing 2008.
First Indian track and field athlete to win a world championship – Neeraj Chopra, World U20 Championships 2016
Neeraj Chopra’s gold medal win at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, was a milestone moment in the future Olympic champion’s career.
With the win, the then 18-year-old Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian track and field athlete to become a world champion in any event and any age level. The win proved to be the platform Neeraj Chopra needed to develop into a global superstar.
First Indian track and field athlete to set a world record – Neeraj Chopra, 86.48m, World U20 Championships 2016
Neeraj Chopra’s winning throw of 86.48m at the junior championships in Poland also set the new under-20 world record, beating the 84.69m mark established by the previous holder, Latvia's Zigismunds Sirmais.
Neeraj Chopra’s 86.48m attempt at Bydgoszcz still stands as both the U20 world record as well as the U20 Asian record in the javelin throw.
Indian national javelin throw record – Neeraj Chopra, 88.07m, Indian Grand Prix 3 2021
Neeraj Chopra has been in possession of the Indian national record in men’s javelin throw since 2016.
The Indian ace first set the senior national record during the 2016 South Asian Games in Guwahati, where he equalled Rajinder Singh’s mark of 82.23m en route to gold.
At the U20 world championships a few months later, he took sole custody and has bettered his own record several times since.
Neeraj Chopra’s best attempt to date came at the Indian Grand Prix 3 in Patiala on March 5, 2021, where he managed his personal best of 88.07m to establish the new national record.
First Indian javelin thrower to win gold medal at Asian Games – Neeraj Chopra, Jakarta 2018
One of Neeraj Chopra’s several national record-bettering throws was at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, where he won the gold medal with an 88.06m attempt.
With it, Neeraj Chopra also became the first Indian javelin thrower to win a gold medal at the Asian Games. Before him, Gurtej Singh was the only men’s javelin thrower from the country to win a medal – bronze at the 1982 New Delhi Asian Games.
Indian women javelin throwers have won six medals (two silver, four bronze) at the continental event, but none of them gold.
Knowing Neeraj Chopra’s calibre, expect a lot more additions to this list in the coming years.