Tokyo Olympics javelin throw champion Neeraj Chopra, who clinched the historic silver medal at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, is elated from his performance and thanked everyone for the support, adding that the challenging final was a good learning experience for him.
With his best throw of 88.13m, Neeraj won silver and ended India's 19-year-long wait for a medal at the World Athletics Championships. This was India's second medal at the World Championships and the first podium finish since Anju Bobby George won a bronze medal in long jump at Paris in 2003.
"I'm feeling really great today to have won a silver medal for the country. Next year again, we have the World Championships and the aim will be to do better there. A big thanks to SAI, the federation and the government who have supported us and given us a foreign coach and sent us abroad for training. I hope in every sport, we keep getting support and we make more progress," said Neeraj after his World Championships heroics.
The 24-year old Indian, who made the cut for the Oregon 2022 men's javelin throw final courtesy an 88.39m mark in the qualification, made a disappointing start with a foul.
Needing to shatter his personal best and the national record of 89.94m, set at the Stockholm Diamond League last month, for a shot at gold, Neeraj posted 82.39m and 86.37m with his second and third attempts, respectively. However, he was still short of a medal position after the third series of throws.
"In the first three throws, I did not feel good. My warm-up was not good. I felt something in my groin during the throw but I think it is OK," the Indian ace said.
The star athlete also mentioned that the windy conditions were challenging and he learnt from it.
"Conditions were not great, there was a lot of wind. But I felt that I would get a good throw. It was a good experience today. Also to throw with such wind, I learned something from this," he said.
Chopra finally climbed up into the top three with an 88.13m fourth attempt which saw him leapfrog the Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch and Germany's Julian Weber into the silver medal position. The Tokyo Olympics champion fouled his fifth and sixth attempts but had done enough to win India its maiden silver medal at the World Championships.
"After the fourth throw I felt discomfort in my thigh. (His thigh was strapped). After the fourth throw I could not throw as much effort as I would have liked. I will know if I am ok in the morning," Chopra said about his fitness.
Talking about the 90m mark and his arch-rival Anderson Peters from Grenada, who won the gold with his best effort of 90.54m the final at the Hayward Field, the Indian said his opponent put in a lot of effort.
"90 metres throw is not easy, Peters put in a lot of effort. I keep saying every athlete has his day. Every competition is different for every athlete. We should not compare athletes," he said.