18th Asian Games: Javelin thrower Neeraj wins gold

Jakarta: Reigning Asian champion Neeraj Chopra created a new national record on his way to the men’s javelin gold at the 18th Asian Games here on Monday.

Neeraj threw 88.06 metres in his third attempt to clinch gold. Neeraj’s gold is India’s second medal in the event in Asiad history. Gurtej Singh had taken a bronze at the 1982 edition in New Delhi.

Liu Qizhen took silver for China with a personal best of 82.22m. Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem was a surprise finisher at the bronze medal position.

Languishing at the fifth position till late in the competition, the Pakistani was initially struggling to get past the 75 metre mark. But he hit 80.75m with his fourth attempt which put him on the podium.

Shivpal Singh, the other Indian in the fray, registered 74.11m to finish eighth.

In his first attempt, Neeraj recorded 83.46 metres. He fouled his second attempt but the next three attempts saw him throwing 88.06m, 83.25m and 86.36m respectively.

Neeraj again fouled his final attempt but it did not matter as the other athletes in the field came nowhere close to his performance.

Such was the domination of the 20-year-old that even his lowest throw of 83.25m was better than the nearest competitor.

“I could have crossed 90m today but I was repeatedly getting too much height in my throws. But I am happy with my performance,” Neeraj told the media after the event.

“My next target is wining gold at the Diamond League Final which starts on September 13,” he added.

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