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Neeraj Chopra Makes History, Becomes Second Indian Ever to Win Individual Olympic Gold Medal

Neeraj Chopra of India in action
© REUTERS / KAI PFAFFENBACH

With more than a billion citizens praying for his win, India's Neeraj Chopra delivered the golden throw in the men's javelin final to claim a historic gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday. Neeraj's gold in the Japanese capital is also the country's first-ever medal in athletics.

Indian javelin mega-star Neeraj Chopra joined legendary shooter Abhinav Bindra to become just the second Indian Olympian ever to clinch a gold medal at the biggest sports event in the world.

While Bindra accomplished the feat back in 2008, Chopra clinched his maiden gold medal at the games with a stunning display of power, precision and determination at Tokyo's Olympic Stadium.

Chopra, who nearly wiped out the competition with his throw of 87.03 metres in his first attempt, was almost unstoppable in the final.

However, his best performance was yet to come as he cleared a distance 87.58m in his second attempt, laying down a marker for his opponents for the remainder of the contest.

Even though Neeraj failed to cross the 80m mark on his third throw and fouled during his fourth and final attempt, he was never fully challenged during the day.

While none of his other rivals ever crossed 87 metres, what sealed the deal in favour of Chopra was the early departure of world champion Johannas Vetter after the German was eliminated at the conclusion of the third round.

Jakub Vadlejch of the Czech Republic and his countryman Vítězslav Veselý won silver and bronze with throws of 86.67m and 85.44 metres respectively.

As soon as the news of Neeraj's sensational victory broke, the nation erupted in wild celebrations, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailing his remarkable passion and unparalleled grit for his historic feat in Japan.

On the other hand, there were others who labelled him as a "legend", while some said that his gold medal would usher in an athletics revolution in the country.

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