Budapest, Aug 28: India's Olympic medalist Neeraj Chopra made history in the early hours of Monday, capturing his country's first-ever gold medal at the World Athletics Championships and edging out Pakistan's Arshad Nadeem by less than a meter at the final of men's javelin throw event in Budapest.
Neeraj recorded his best throw of 88.17 m in his second attempt and managed to keep his lead intact till the very end. Nadeem, the Commonwealth Games champion with 87.82 m got a silver medal. Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch secured the bronze with the best throw of 86.67 m.
Kishore Jena (best of 84.77 m) finished fifth while DP Manu (best of 84.14 m) finished sixth.
Now, India has medals of all colours at the World Championships. This is Neeraj's second medal at the World Championships after he secured a silver last year. Before his two medals, India's last medalist was Anju Bobby George back in the 2003 World Championships, getting a bronze for the women's long jump.
In the first round of attempts, Finland's Oliver Helander took the lead with a throw of 83.38 m. Neeraj Chopra's first throw was a foul, giving him a start that he did not want. The first throws of Kishore Jena and DP Manu were 75.70 m and 78.44 respectively. But it was not enough to give them a top-three spot. At the end of the first round of attempts, Helander led the field.
In the second round of attempts, Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch took the lead with a throw of 84.18 m. However, Neeraj overcame the nerves of a bad start, outdoing Jakub with a monstrous 88.17 m throw to take the lead. Manu's second attempt was a foul. Jena's second throw was a solid 82.82 m and took him to the fifth spot. Neeraj led with a massive 88.17 m after the second round of attempts.
The third round of attempts started and Neeraj recorded a throw of 86.32 m, the second-best in the competition so far. He managed to maintain his lead. However, with a massive throw of 87.82 m, Pakistan's Commonwealth Games champion Arshad Nadeem jumped to the number two spot. He recorded his season-best throw and less than a meter separated him with the Olympic champion Neeraj. With a third attempt of 83.72 m, Manu was still at fifth. Jena's third attempt was a foul and he remained at seventh spot. Neeraj led with 88.17 at the end of round three of attempts.
Jena's fourth attempt was 80.19 m and kept him at the seventh spot at the start of fourth round of attempts. Manu's fourth attempt was a foul, keeping him at the fifth spot. Neeraj recorded the fourth throw of 84.64 m, still in the lead. However, Nadeem was still pretty close to him, throwing 87.15 m in the fourth attempt and having the second-best throw overall from earlier. Neeraj led the field at the end of the fourth round of attempts.
Jena's fifth attempt was 84.77 m, taking him to fourth spot, one away from a bronze. Nadeem's fifth throw was a foul, delivering a blow to his hopes of a first spot. Neeraj's fifth throw was 87.73 m and kept him in the lead. However, it was just inches away from Nadeem's second-best throw of 87.82 m from earlier. Manu recorded 83.48 m and Jena recorded 84.77 in their fifth attempts. Jena was fifth while Manu at sixth! Neeraj still led the field.
In the final round of attempts, Manu was still at sixth with an 84.14 m throw in the final attempt. Jena committed a foul and stayed at fifth. Nadeem's final throw was 81.86 m and failed to overcome Neeraj's 88.17 m in his final attempt!. In this way, Nadeem settled for a silver and Neeraj made history with India's first-ever World Championships gold.