Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem finished second at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest
NEW DELHI: Crores of Indians woke up to a pleasant surprise on Monday as their Golden Boy Neeraj Chopra claimed the record of being the first Indian to win a gold medal at the World Athletics Championships.
Chopra – who has inspired thousands to take up javelin throw as a sport since his gold winning throw of 87.58m at Tokyo Olympics 2020 – defeated Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem and Czech Republic’s Jakub Vadlejch in Budapest.
He had won the silver medal in the championship last year.
A junior commissioned officer in the Indian Army, Chopra is now reigning champion of Olympics (Tokyo in 2021), Asian Games (2018) and Commonwealth Games (2018), U-20 World Championships (2016). He also holds the Diamond League title – a rare feat that athletes across the world only dream of.
The athletics event added India-Pakistan drama to the game as Arshad Nadeem struggled to beat Chopra. His victorious throw of 88.17m was followed by Nadeem’s 87.82.
Apart from Chopra, two more Indians – Kishore Jena and DP Manu – were vying for the top spot at the podium. They finished fifth and sixth respectively.
Responding to ‘India vs Pakistan’ hype on social media, Chopra said that he felt European athletes were more dangerous. “I don’t use my mobile much before the competition but today I looked at it and the first thing was India versus Pakistan. But if you see, European athletes are very dangerous and at any time they can produce a big throw,” he told reporters.
The 25-year-old athlete continued: “Not just Arshad, there is Jakub and Julian Webber. So till the last throw you have to keep thinking about other throwers. But the thing is there will be India vs Pakistan comparisons back home.”
He also admitted that there will be more India vs Pakistan buzz when he completes Nadeem at the Asian Games.
The Army officer said that he was happy to see Nadeem – who considers him his role model – finishing second. “I felt good that Arshad threw well and we discussed how both our countries are growing now. Earlier there were European athletes but now we have reached their level,” he said.