Neeraj Chopra underlined his status as the best javelin thrower in Asia by clinching the gold medal in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on Monday with a new national record of 88.06m.
The 20-year-old, who had won the Commonwealth Games gold in April this year, was head and shoulders above his competitors in Jakarta as all his four registered scores were better than second placed Liu Qizhen of China who clinched the silver with a personal best throw of 82.22. Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem bagged the bronze medal with a best throw of 80.75.
Chopra’s gold is India’s only second medal in javelin throw in Asian Games history after Gurtej Singh won a bronze in 1982 in New Delhi.
This was India’s eighth gold medal from this edition of the Games and second from athletics after Tajinderpal Toor clinched the gold in shot put on first day of competition. India have also won six silver medals from track and field events.
Chopra, who has also made it to the prestigious Diamond League finals, began with a throw of 83.46m in his first attempt and then broke the national mark on his third attempt, having fouled his second attempt. He failed to better that throw in the remaining three attempts but it did not matter in the final analysis.
The 20-year-old has had the best season of his career thus far, even breaking his own national record at the Diamond League meet in Doha, Qatar with a throw of 87.43m. The impressive feat has been achieving consistency, with five throws above 85 metres. Neeraj now holds the six longest throws in Asia in 2018 and nine of the top 15.
Shivpal Singh, the second Indian in fray, began with a throw of 74.11m and that turned out to be his best effort as he finished eighth among 13 competitors.