Tokyo: Into the finals with a “perfect throw”, trailblazing javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra on Wednesday mentioned he’ll want the identical efficiency with the next rating to be in competition for India’s maiden track-and-field medal on the Olympic Video games right here.
The 23-year-old Chopra turned the primary Indian javelin thrower to enter the finals of the Video games with a giant throw of 86.65m that put him on the highest of the Group A qualification.
He took just some seconds to make that minimize, sending the spear properly previous the direct qualifying mark of 83.50m in his first try.
“I am at my first Olympic Games, and I feel very good. In 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,” Chopra mentioned after his occasion.
Chopra is, nevertheless, underneath no phantasm that the ultimate shall be a very totally different contest the place the world’s finest will go for podium end.
“It is going to be a unique feeling (within the finals), since it’s my first time within the Olympics. Bodily we (all) practice onerous, and are prepared, however I additionally want to organize mentally.
“I will need to focus on the throw, and try to repeat this (performance) with a higher score,” he mentioned.
Chopra’s efficiency on Saturday will go down as among the finest performances by an Indian within the Olympics. He completed forward of gold medal favorite and 2017 world champion Johannes Vetter of Germany.
Vetter, who had earlier mentioned that Chopra will discover it powerful to beat him within the Olympics, struggled in his first two throws earlier than crossing the automated qualification mark with a 85.64m remaining throw.
The 28-year-old towering German, who got here into the Olympics after having seven monster throws of over 90m between April and June, was mendacity at a harmful seventh place after his first two throws however finally certified for the ultimate at second.
Finland’s Lassi Etelatalo additionally superior to the ultimate as an automated qualifier with a primary spherical throw of 84.50m.
Those that contact 83.50m mark or the 12 finest performers qualify for the ultimate on Saturday.
A farmer’s son from Khandra village close to Panipat in Haryana who took up athletics to shed flab, Chopra left the javelin area after his first throw, having secured his place within the remaining simply.
He reiterated that the build-up to the Olympics was troublesome as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Final yr was very troublesome, as a result of we have been prepared for the Olympics, and as a result of coronavirus all the pieces was closed. We felt just a little unhappy, however after we began coaching often. We have to practice every single day, so it was troublesome.
“But when Japan said they could do the Olympics, we prepared our mind and trained very hard.”
The reigning Asian Video games and Commonwealth Video games gold medallist had been wanting preparations within the run-up to the Olympics with simply three worldwide occasions, out of which just one — Kuortane Video games in Finland — was of top-class stage the place Vetter took the gold and he completed third.
This was Chopra’s seventh finest throw and third better of the season 2021.
His earlier six finest throws are 88.07m (March 2021; Indian GP-3), 88.06m (2018, Asian Video games), 87.87m (January 2020; ACNW Assembly in South Africa), 87.80m (March 2021; Federation Cup), 87.43m (Could 2018, Doha Diamond League) and 86.79 (June 2021; Kuortane Video games).