Neeraj Chopra wins javelin title for India's first Olympic track and field gold

Chopra claims title with best throw of 87.58, becoming just the second Indian to win individual Olympic gold

Neeraj Chopra created history on Saturday after winning the men's javelin title at the Tokyo Olympics with a best throw of 87.58 metres, clinching the first ever Olympic athletics gold for India.

Chopra thus became only the second Indian to win an individual Olympic gold after shooter Abhinav Bindra won the 10-metre air rifle event at the 2008 Olympics.

The 23-year-old ended India's century-long wait for track gold; British-Indian Norman Pritchard had won silver in the 200m and now-defunct 200m hurdles at the 1900 Paris Games.

The Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch won silver with 86.67 metres and Vitezslav Vesely took home bronze with 85.44.

Chopra, the 2018 Commonwealth champion, took the lead with a throw of 87.03 on his first attempt, a distance no other competitor achieved during the final, winning India's first gold of the Tokyo Games.

With medals assured, Vadlejch and Vesely attempted to reach the top of the podium on their final throws but both fouled.

"Your performance has further elevated what has been evident throughout the Games - that our athletes are not only capable of going toe to toe with the best, but are firmly establishing ourselves as the favorites," Bindra wrote on Twitter.

"Our first individual Gold might have taken over a century to come, but the comparatively miniscule time taken for your to bring home the second is a solid indication that we, as a sporting nation, are on the rise."

Chopra, a farmer's son, had came into the Olympics with the fourth best throw of the year and lived up to his form as a faltering Germany's Johannes Vetter, the only competitor in the final to have thrown over 90m, struggled and failed to qualify as one of the top eight.

Updated: August 7th 2021, 12:59 PM