Olympic champion Chopra wins India’s first silver medal at worlds
India’s sports community hailed Neeraj Chopra on Sunday after the Olympic javelin champion won the country’s first silver medal at the World Championships.
Chopra’s throw of 88.13 meters was not enough to beat Grenadian Anderson Peters’ effort of 90.54m but it was enough to end India’s 19-year wait for another medal at the World Championships.
Anju Bobby George took bronze in the women’s long jump in Paris in 2003 to win India’s first medal.
“I feel very good after winning a silver for India,” Chopra said in a video shared by the Sports Authority of India (SAI). “Next year we have another World Championships, and I’ll try to do better there.”
Chopra, who became the first Indian to win an individual athletics gold at the Olympics in Tokyo last year, had delivered a “historic moment”, George told Reuters.
“I’m really happy and excited that after a long wait of 19 years, we have won our second World Championships medal,” she said.
“This is continuing on from Neeraj’s performance at the Olympics, where he was able to produce his best on a stage like this. It was a tough competition, a tough field, and he was able to manage the pressure and take the medal.
“He’s very young, and he’s in his rhythm, and he can achieve something at the next World Championships in Budapest as well.”
George, now the senior vice president of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI), added that Chopra’s success was a sign of the country’s wider improvement in athletics.
“This year there were seven finalists from India, which was historic in itself, and we won one medal,” George said. “We’re improving a lot. Our athletes are getting support and the results are now showing up.”
Shooter Abhinav Bindra, who won India’s first individual Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008, also heaped praise on the 24-year-old javelin thrower.
“Many congratulations for your silver at the worlds! You make us proud,” Bindra wrote on Twitter.
PT Usha, who came fourth in the women’s 400m hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, tweeted: “Your best efforts have made our country proud in the world.”