Flying Into History Books with Javelin: Neeraj Chopra’s Story

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In the sports arena, there is always a stiff competition in the sports arena from fellow sportsmen. But this is what inspire the great people to triumph against all the odds and go for the gold. The 16th of April 2018 proved once again that history is always made by people who go a step further to challenge the world.

Born on December 24 in 1997, Neeraj Chopra, just 20 years old, has become the first javelin thrower from India to win the gold at the Commonwealth Games. The games for this year were held at Gold Coast, Australia where Neeraj showed off his extraordinary skills to win India’s first track and field gold. He has earlier created a World Junior Record in the same sport held at the 2016 IAAF WorldU20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

In what many describe as an eagle’s flight, Panipat based Neeraj made his javelin fly a distance of 86.47 meters to beat the local favourite – Hamish Peacock from Australia. Hamish had to limit himself to take the silver with 82.50 meters followed by Peter Anderson from Grenada whose javelin could reach 82.20 meter mark.

Neeraj learned the basics of javelin throw on YouTube and thereupon started to hone his throwing skills. With the help of a local trainer, who many say is instrumental behind the successful journey of Neeraj, he further developed his love for javelin. The trainer says that he always believed in Neeraj and could see that this young man could reach greater heights in the shortest time possible.

He is being trained by the world’s only man who could throw a javelin for over hundred meters – German Coach Uwe Hohn. Uwe John won the gold in javelin throw back in 1986 after his javelin landed at a distance of 104.80 meters. With the new throw, Neeraj broke the record of Zigisimunds Sirmais from Latvia whose throw was 84.69m.

After his first event at 2018 Commonwealth Games held in Gold Coast, Neeraj was confident enough to say that he was just trying to improve his personal best. The young lad was so sure with his first throw that he could bag the gold. Even world’s top most authorities in the field of javelin agree that Neeraj is gifted with talent unlike another athlete. Australian Coach Garry Calvert spoke very high of the young lad, saying “the javelin throw is all about getting the longest movement of the throwing arm in the shortest amount of time. Neeraj has an instinctive feel for the long movement.”

Calvert had said sometime earlier that most throwers of the throwers release the javelin quickly without drawing their throwing arm as far as they can. The longer they delay releasing their arm, the more distance they can get.

Many wonder as to how this farmer’s son who had never had any formal training has created a world record by winning gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. But according to Neeraj, freedom to do what he likes and his talent and intensity had worked in his favour to bag the gold.