In a country that is increasingly keen to follow more than just cricket, javelin throw would be a sport that would feature heavily on many fans’ list of favourite events to track and keep an eye on.
With Devendra Jhajharia’s world record-breaking effort in Rio de Janeiro during the Paralympics catching the attention of many, there is also the young athlete who has given India plenty of reasons to follow the sport.
Neeraj Chopra is the only Indian to have an athletics world record against his name when he threw the javelin over 86 metres in IAAF World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz in 2016 and since then his career has been followed closely.
Chopra, who recently won the gold at the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, will be in action on Friday in Doha at the IAAF Diamond League meet, an event that is considered to be a marker of where you stand as an athlete on the world scene. The best of the best are usually present in most disciplines and it is the same this year as Olympic champions Julius Yego and Thomas Rohler, along with World Champion Johannes Vetter would be present alongside Chopra from India.
Among them, reigning world champion Vetter would start as the favourite, having set the early season marker. His 92.70m in March this year is the 12th farthest throw of all time and added nearly a metre and a half to his world lead which prior to today was 91.22m.
Between them, the German duo of Johannes Vetter and Olympic champion Thomas Röhler, have produced the three longest throws since the turn of the century. The only man who has ever thrown farther than either is world record-holder Jan Zelezny, whose world record of 98.48m dates back to 1996, according to the IAAF website.
“The biggest buzz is I get from competing in javelin is I get to see my work flying,” Vetter had told IAAF earlier this year. “What I most enjoy is when I get to see the javelin flying through the air for four seconds. If I make a mistake, I get instant feedback but if it flies a long way and the crowd make a wild noise, that is something really special.”
So how does he do it? Here’s the man himself, explaining his throwing technique. Young athletes, listen up.