Neeraj Chopra won the country’s seventh medal and first gold in this Olympics and joined shooter Abhinav Bindra (2008 Beijing Games) as India’s individual gold winner in the showpiece. With this, the country surpassed the previous best haul of six medals achieved in the 2012 London Games.
With one gold, two silvers and four bronzes, India has recorded the best-ever medal haul in Olympics.
Neeraj Chopra has become only the second Indian to win an individual gold in the Olympics, out-performing the field by quite a distance to clinch the historic medal for the country.
The 23-year-old farmer’s son from Village Khandra near Panipat in Haryana produced a second-round throw of 87.58 m in the Men’s Javelin Throw final to stun the athletics world and end India’s 100-year wait for a track and field medal in the Olympics.
With this, the country surpassed the previous best haul of six medals achieved in the 2012 London Games.
Czech Republic throwers Jakub Vadlejch (86.67m) and Vitezslav Vesely (85.44m) took the silver and bronze respectively.
Neeraj Chopra came into the final as a medal contender after topping the qualification round on Wednesday with a stunning first-round throw of 86.59 m.
But few would have thought he would bludgeon his way to gold in such a dominant fashion at the grandest stage.
Season leader and pre-tournament gold favourite Johannes Vetter of Germany, who had thrown the javelin to 90m plus distances seven times between April and June, was eliminated after the first three throws as he was placed ninth with a best effort of 82.52m.
The top eight after the first three throws get three more attempts while the remaining four in the 12-man final are eliminated.
With his fifth career-best throw, Neeraj Chopra has done something which the likes of late Milkha Singh and PT Usha could not do in 1960 and 1984 editions.
No Indian has won a medal in athletics since the country started taking part in the Games in 1920 in Antwerp, Belgium.
Three track and field athletes were part of the five-member team, the other two being wrestlers, in that Olympics.