Javelin Ace Neeraj Chopra Makes Easy Work of Federation Cup 2024, Claims Gold Medal

Javelin Ace Neeraj Chopra Makes Easy Work of Federation Cup 2024, Claims Gold Medal

Neeraj Chopra Takes Gold with Ease in Underwhelming Javelin Throw Event at National Federation Senior Athletics Competition

The javelin throw event at the 27th National Federation Senior Athletics Competition held at the Kalinga Stadium didn’t quite showcase the expected level of excitement and competition. However, it was defending champion Neeraj Chopra who emerged victorious effortlessly, hardly breaking a sweat as he secured the gold medal.

Heading into the competition, Neeraj already had a comfortable lead after his impressive fourth throw, recording a distance of 82.27 meters. Interestingly, the last time he managed to win with such a remarkable distance was back in the 2016 SAF Games in Guwahati when Neeraj had a throw of 82.23 meters.

Neeraj’s dominance became evident once his closest rival, Manu DP Manu, had a foul throw in his sixth attempt. With no serious competition left, Neeraj knew the gold medal was within his reach. He simply decided to let the remaining two rounds pass, consolidating his position at the top of the leaderboard. Uttam Patil secured the third spot on the podium.

The lackluster nature of the event was further highlighted by Asian Games silver medalist Kishore Jena, who failed to surpass the 80-meter mark, settling for a distance of 75.49 meters and a fifth-place finish.

Following his fourth throw, Neeraj engaged in a discussion with his coach, Klaus Bartonietz. It was during this conversation that his decision to skip the fifth and sixth rounds was made, not surprising anyone considering his comfortable lead.

Notably, this tournament marked Neeraj’s return to India after a three-year absence. While acknowledging the lackluster competition, Neeraj expressed his satisfaction with participating in a home tournament in front of his fans. He attributed his decision to skip the remaining rounds to his recent participation in the Doha Diamond League meeting on May 10, leaving him with limited recovery time and travel obligations. Neeraj expressed his happiness in being able to participate nonetheless and revealed that his next tournament would be the Ostrava Golden Spike on May 28.

The superstar status of Neeraj was evident as he arrived at the Kalinga Stadium with a pilot car escort. More than 200 spectators gathered to catch a glimpse of the Olympic and world champion warming up for the event. Among the crowd, 25 students traveled 40 kilometers from Khurda Road to witness Neeraj’s brilliance live in action. The atmosphere inside the stadium was electrifying, with approximately 2,000 people, including India’s national football team coach Igor Stimac, present to witness Neeraj’s first attempt.

Speaking about the overwhelming support, Neeraj acknowledged the enthusiasm of the crowd while highlighting the need for athletes to maintain focus during competitions. He stressed the importance of a separate mindset and the associated risks if too many people were allowed on the field. Neeraj mentioned that earlier, he used to meet a lot of people, but certain changes had to be made due to safety concerns.

When asked if he would trade a medal for a 90-meter throw, Neeraj affirmed that the medal would always take precedence as the ultimate goal. He believed that distances could always be improved, but the pride and significance of an earned medal remained unparalleled.

In other highlights from the competition, SS Sneha of Karnataka secured the title of fastest woman, winning the 100m gold with an impressive time of 11.63 seconds. Gurindervir Singh of Punjab dominated the men’s 100m dash, claiming gold with a swift time of 10.35 seconds. Meanwhile, national record holder Praveen Chitravel of Tamil Nadu emerged victorious in the men’s triple jump event, though his jump of 16.79 meters fell below his usual high standards.

While the overall event may not have met the heightened expectations, Neeraj Chopra’s commanding performance and the support of the enthusiastic crowd provided a memorable spectacle.

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