At Neeraj Chopra’s Haryana’s Panipat Home, Tears Of Joy And Dance Of Victory

Celebrations broke out at Neeraj Chopra’s home in Panipat soon after he finished second.

New Delhi:

Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra bagged the silver medal in the men’s javelin throw final at the World Athletics Championships today, making him only the second Indian and first male track athlete to win a medal at the tournament. The legendary Anju Bobby George won a medal in athletics with a long jump bronze in the 2003 edition.

Celebrations broke out at Mr Chopra’s home in Haryana’s Panipat soon after the 24-year-old produced a best throw of 88.13m to finish second. Family members were seen distributing laddoos to the guests soon after the medal announcement. The women in the family, who were largely indoors, broke into dance to celebrate his victory.

“We are very happy that his hard work has paid off,” Neeraj Chopra’s mother, Saroj Chopra, told NDTV.

“We were aiming for a gold medal but we are happy that he’s won a silver,” said Dharamsingh Chopra, Neeraj Chopra’s grandfather, as tears rolled down his eyes.

“We hoped for gold but this feat (winning medal) is in itself a record in Indian history. In 2003, Anju Bobby George won bronze medal in long jump. Neeraj has set history today by winning the first-ever silver medal for India at the World Athletics Championships. He always creates history,” Gaurav, a relative of Neeraj Chopra, told NDTV.

Mr Chopra, who had come into the showpiece as a hot medal favourite, began with a foul throw and had 82.39m and 86.37m to be at fourth after three rounds. He jumped to second place with a big fourth round throw of 88.13m, his fourth career-best effort.

“I am glad that he has reached the second place,” his father told NDTV, which was present with the family at their home in Panipat.

Mr Chopra’s family was joined by neighbours and relatives as they watched the live broadcast of the competition in Oregon, USA. District Collector, Panipat, Sushil Sarwan was seen sitting with the family in the front row as they watched the competition.

Inspired by Mr Chopra’s performance in Tokyo Olympics last year, where he won gold, a majority of young boys in his village have taken to javelin throw.

“We have also started training for javelin throw. We train daily in the evening,” said one neighbour, who was present at Mr Chopra’s home.

“We are really happy that Neeraj bhaiya won the medal,” said another.

Defending champion Anderson Peters of Grenada won gold with a best throw of 90.54m while Olympic silver winner Jakub Vadlejch of Czech Republic took the bronze with 88.09m.

Mr Chopra had topped the Group A qualification round and qualified for the final at second place behind Peters by sending his spear to 88.39m for his third career-best throw. Peters had topped Group B with an effort of 89.91m.

The other Indian in the fray, Rohit Yadav finished at 10th with a best throw of 78.72m. Rohit had finished 11th overall in the qualification round with a best throw of 80.42m.

The 21-year-old Indian had recorded a season’s and personal best of 82.54m while winning a silver at the National Inter-State Championships last month.

Mr Chopra had won Indian athletics’ maiden gold in the Tokyo Olympics last year. He is only the second Indian to have won an individual gold in the Olympics, after shooter Abhinav Bindra, who clinched the yellow metal in 2008 Beijing Games.

With inputs from PTI

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