The javelin throw is a track and field event played in the Olympics where a spear about 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in) in length called Javelin is thrown. Javelin throw origin can be traced since ancient times. However, back then, it was more of a means of hunting than sports. India’s connection with Javelin throw also has been an old one. The quality and performance of Indian Javelin Throwers is on the rise in recent years. This is evident from the increase in the medal tally in various global championships. Through the years, India has nurtured some really talented Javelin Throwers. Here’s a list of 5 most talented Indian Javelin Thrower of all time.
Neeraj Chopra is the poster boy of India when it comes to Javelin Throw or even athletics in general. He was born on 24 December 1997 in the Panipat district of Haryana. He took the world by surprise winning a gold medal in the 2016 IAAF World U20 champion and setting the world junior record of 86.48 m at the U20 championships. In 2017, Neeraj won another gold medal in the Asian Athletic championships with a throw of 85.23 meters. Chopra then joined the elite list of athletes to win a gold medal in his first Commonwealth games appearance. Following these stellar performances, he became the first Indian athlete to win the gold medal in Javelin Throw in the Asian Games, setting the national record of 88.06 m.
Shivpal Singh was born on 6 July 1995 in Varanasi, UP. In 2016, Shivpal Singh won the men’s javelin throw event at the Budapest Open athletics in Hungary. It has been a roller coaster ride till now for Shivpal. Singh won a silver medal at the Asian Athletics Championships 2019 registering a personal best of 86.23m. He finished eighth in the previous edition of the Asian games (2018) as he could only manage one throw off his 3 chances due to an elbow injury. This was not the first time he suffered such blow right before the event. In 2015, he was selected for the junior world championships but was left out of the squad because of the injury. The journey from national championships to the big stage has been quite eventful for the young man from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
Annu Rani was born on 28 August 1992 in Meerut. She is the current national record holder of the Indian Women’s Javelin Throw at 58.83m. She has a bronze medal with a throw of 59.53 meters at the Asian Games 2014 in Incheon, South Korea. Annu broke her own national record again at the 56th National Open Athletics Championships in September 2016. She created a new record with her throw of 60.01 meters by breaking her previous national record of 59.87 meters. She is also the first Indian women to cross the 60 meters mark breaking four national records in two years. Also, Annu is the first Indian women to qualify for a World Championships. Annu has won a silver medal at the Asian Athletics Championship in April 2019. She currently stands in the prime of her career and India has high hopes from her for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
2Davinder Singh Kang
Davinder Singh Kang was born in Jalandhar district of Punjab on 18 December 1988. Kang won a bronze medal at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships with a throw of 83.29m. In 2017, he created history becoming the first Indian to qualify for Javelin Finals in IAAF World Championships. He worked really hard both in and out of the National Camp. He even lost 25kg in 18 months to achieve optimum fitness. Also, he is an Army Naib Subedar and has trained a lot of his junior Javelin throwers.
Kang could not participate in the 2010 Commonwealth Games due to a fractured leg. His 84.22m throw for direct Finals qualification in the World Athletics Championship was better than that of 2016 Rio Olympics German gold medallist Thomas Rohler and Kenyan silver medallist Julius Yego. Prior to this achievement, Kang was tested positive for marijuana after an in-competition test. Kang faced immense pressure and a shoulder injury while defying the odds and making it to the finals.
Elizabeth Davenport is the first and the only Indian Javelin Thrower to have won medals twice in the history of Asian Games. She won a silver medal and a bronze medal in the 1958 Tokyo Asian games and in 1962 Jakarta Asian games respectively. In the early years of Asian games, nearly all women medal winners from India were Anglo-Indians like Christie Brown, Stephie D’Souza, and Elizabeth Devenport. It is evident from her medal tally how dominant she was in her times when India didn’t even the economic strength to support athletes shoes.