India's star javelin thrower, Olympic gold medalist and World Champion Neeraj Chopra will be starting his Asian Games campaign in the final of men's javelin throw on Wednesday.
Neeraj will compete in the title clash in the javelin throw at 4:35 PM IST.
The athlete had won a gold medal in javelin back in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. With a throw of 88.06 m, he made a mark at continental level, giving signs of a fine future. Previously, he had also secured a gold medal in the Commonwealth Games 2018, with a throw of 86.47 m.
Now five years later, the then 20-year-old upstart has transformed into a living legend at 25 years of age. When it comes to accomplishments and trophies, Neeraj has very little to prove now as he has won it all.
In 2021, he captured an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, with the best throw of 87.58 m. With this, he became the first-ever Indian to win an athletics gold. This victory made him a sensation in the country. Love and support from fans, cricketers, politicians, and Bollywood celebrities made his victory even grander. Suddenly, Neeraj was the talking point all over India, being featured on social media campaigns, advertisements, shows etc. People wondered what he would do next.
In the next few coming months, Neeraj showed that though he had attained the top prize in athletics, there was still plenty for him to prove and win.
2022 was an amazing year for Neeraj, though he missed out on Commonwealth Games 2022 due to an injury.
In June, he made a new national record and finished with a silver medal with a throw of 89.30 metres at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Finland, bettering his own previous national record of 88.07 meters which he had set in Patiala in March last year.
In June again, he gave another sterling performance as he clinched gold in the 2022 Kuortane Games in Finland. Neeraj threw 86.69 m to clinch the top prize in tricky and wet conditions.
He also held the male javelin national record thanks to a throw in the Stockholm Diamond League that measured 89.94 metres, with which he broke his own record. He clinched a silver medal at the prestigious Diamond League meet in Stockholm and broke his own previous record.
At the World Athletics Championships in July, Neeraj Chopra made history by becoming only the second Indian and the first male track and field athlete to take home a medal. He finished second and won the silver medal, realising his aim of winning a World medal with a throw of 88.13 metres. Anju Bobby George won a bronze medal for India in the long jump competition before Neeraj.
In September, Chopra made history by becoming the first-ever Indian to win the prestigious Diamond League trophy, a top-tier athletics competition, achieving the best throw of 88.44 m to clinch one of the biggest wins of his career.
With a gold medal in Asian Games, Olympics, CWG and World Athletics Championships and a Diamond League title, Chopra has won every top prize in the sport. He has set an unprecedented example with his consistency and hunger for gold.
Ahead of start of his campaign, Neeraj spoke about his consistency, "It is not about being consistent in throw, but also in training. Keep training well and work on your technique. This leads to improvement. Last year, I made two national records, it was nice. I made improvements. This year I felt good, but injuries proved to be a temporary obstacle. Feels good to be consistent."
The only thing that is perhaps left to prove for Neeraj is whether he can touch the 90 m mark. Neeraj himself is looking forward to it, but is not in a hurry. His main focus still remains consistency.
"I am very close to it. I want to hit that throw myself. I believe in the process. Whenever it will happen, it will happen. I am not in a hurry. I am happy with my consistent performances, this is my main focus," said Neeraj.
This time, his arch-rival Arshad Nadeem from Pakistan is ruled out due to injury. It means, the absence of India-Pakistan rivalry flavour from the continental meet.
The absence of Nadeem however mean Neeraj Chopra is the favourite for Gold. (ANI)