Touted to win a medal at the upcoming Commonwealth and Asian Games,Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra made a strong comeback to the domestic competition circuit, as he outclassed his opponents to claim gold medal at the Run Adam Indian Grand Prix-1 in Patiala.
An impressive performance at the Run Adam Indian Grand Prix-1
Neeraj Chopra was able to throw his spear to a distance of 82.88m at the National Institute of Sports. Doing so, he finished well ahead of Vipin Kasana’s 80.04m who bagged the silver, while Amit Kumar took the bronze with a 77.33m throw.
It was a much anticipated result for Chopra, who was taking part in his first competition since his return from Offenburg in Germany, where the 20-year-old had been training with Werner Daniels. After a three month stint, Neeraj has since returned to the national camp where he has resumed training with former world record holder Uwe Hohn.
Neeraj was not the only athlete to impress though, as shot putter Tajinder Pal Toor claimed gold in the men’s shot put with a best throw of 19.95m. Toor finished ahead of Naveen Chhikara who threw the put 19.08m, while the bronze went to Paramjeet Singh who only managed 16.74m.
Indian Athletes grind it out at the Run Adam Indian Grand Prix-1
Two athletes also joined the javelin thrower in meeting the AFI qualifying guidelines for the Commonwealth Games. Long jumper Nayana James and women’s discus thrower Navjeet Dhillon also managed to meet the minimum requirement.
James, carried on from the form that saw her winning silver at the Asian Indoor Championships by claiming gold in Patiala with a best jump of 6.47m. She finished ahead of Nina Pinto who cleared 6.41m. Purnima Hembram also managed to step on the podium with a best effort of 5.99m.
Dhillon, a former World Junior bronze medalist, too delivered a personal best effort of 59.18m to inch past the AFI qualifying guidelines of 59m.
Also coming close to the qualifying guideline was triple jumper Rakesh Babu. The Kerala jumper managed a best of 16.59m coming a centimeter short of the AFI standard of 16.60m. However, Babu’s effort was good enough to win gold, edging past Commonwealth bronze medalist Arpinder Singh who managed a best of 16.45m. National record holder Renjith Maheshwary finished third with a jump of 16.09m.
Amongst the other bright performers of the day was MP Jabir who claimed the 400m hurdles gold with a time of 50.60seconds, just shy of his personal best of 50.22m. Jabir finished ahead of Santhosh Kumar (50.85 seconds) and Binu Jose (52.77seconds).
Upcoming triple jumper Renu produced a mini upset on the day. Her jump of 13.26m was enough to pip the 13.08m effort of NV Sheena, a silver medalist at last month’s Asian Indoor Championships in Tehran.
Teenager Hima Das too gave a strong account of herself with a personal best timing of 11.74 seconds in the women’s 100m race. Das took silver behind gold medalist Dutee Chand who clocked 11.57 seconds.
As an Indian sports promoter we hope all these young track and field athletes give their best at the XXI commonwealth games. And give India and Indian sports fans new icons whom they can look up to.