Neeraj Chopra is a world champion. He won gold in the 2023 IAAF World Athletics Championships in the men's javelin event with a best throw of 88.17m. The defending Olympic champion is the first Indian to win a gold at the Worlds, a year after he'd become the first Indian to win silver in the competition.
Arshad Nadeem of Pakistan finished a very close second with a best throw of 87.82m while the Czech Republic's Jakub Valence won bronze with a best throw of 86.67m
The two other Indians in the competition, Kishore Kumar Jena and DP Manu finished 5th and 6th with best throws of 84.77m (a personal best for Jena) and 84.14m. It is, of course, the first time three Indians have finished in the top six of any major global event in track and field.
As is his wont, Neeraj went hard in the beginning, and it was his second throw of the night that stayed the top mark. Neeraj's marks were: foul, 88.17m, 86.32m, 84.64m, 87.73m and 83.98m.
After the competition, he would say, "I was thinking I'll [go long] with the first throw, but there were some technical problems with that attempt. Because the first went poorly, it happens [a little bit of pressure builds], but I pushed myself, and I was thinking a bit about my groin injury [which had kept him out of action for most of the season], I was being careful, and my speed was not 100%. And when my speed is not there, I feel a dip somewhere so that's what's left now... to get 100% fit [and throw even further]."
"I thank all Indians for staying up so late to watch me. This medal is for the whole of India... I became Olympic champion, now I'm world champion... which shows we [Indians] can do anything. All of you keep working hard like this in different, different fields and [we'll make our nation proud]," he added.
Earlier, Parul Chaudhary finished 11th in the women's 3000m steeplechase, with a national record breaking 9:15.31. She is just the second Indian to make the final of a track event (after Lalita Babar did so in the 2015 edition, also in the 3000m steeplechase) and this was a remarkable performance, which saw her meet the qualifying mark for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
In the penultimate event of the day, the men's 4x400m relay, the surprise package of the tournament for India, could not build on their scintillating heats performance and finished fifth in a well run race. They ran 2:59.92, just slightly slower than they did on Saturday and finished behind a rampant USA (who won gold with 2:57.31), France, Great Britain, and Jamaica.
You can relive the best moments, as it happened, right here:
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