While his fellow countrymen were fighting the early morning alarms, Neeraj Chopra, clad in a sky blue kit, was already done for the day. It took him only 12 seconds to secure his spot in the final of javelin’s throw at the World Athletics Championship in Eugene.
His first attempt of 88.39m was way beyond the threshold mark and was only one of the two athletes from Group A to earn automatic qualification. Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch was the second, after recording an 85.23m throw.
Read More: The Unstoppable Neeraj Chopra Breaks His Own National Record At Diamond League In Stockholm
On Sunday, there will be a burden of million expectations on Chopra, who is likely to end the medal drought of his nation at the World Athletics Championships. Moreover, he is also vying to become the first javelin thrower in over a decade to hold both Olympics and World Championships gold at the same time.
Chopra has been on a record-breaking spree, ever since he returned from a nine-month break after the triumph in Tokyo. In a span of two months, Chopra has bettered his own national record twice. At Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland, he finished only behind the reigning world champion Anderson Peters. A few days later, he missed the elusive 90m mark by just six cm at Stockholm Diamond League.
Chopra has constantly talked about breaching the hallowed 90m mark, which has already been achieved by two of his fiercest competitors, Peters and Vadlejch.
“I was 6cm short of the 90m mark, I was pretty close. I hope to cross 90m this year. But I never think or focus on distance going into a competition. I just try to give my 100 per cent,” said Chopra before the event.
To increase his arm speed, Chopra has been practicing with a lighter javelin. He has also shed 14kg in the last few months.
“It is not easy to improve it (arm speed). My natural arm speed is good. We can’t do too much exercise (to improve arm speed), but we can throw with light javelin. In practice, after throwing with 800g javelin, I threw with a 700g javelin to see how fast the arm is,” said Chopra to Indian Express.
On Sunday, Neeraj will be joined by his compatriot Rohit Yadav, who qualified for the final with his best effort of 80.42m.
Featured Image Credit: Neeraj Chopra/Twitter