- Neeraj qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by winning the gold at the Athletics Central North East Meeting league in Potchefstroom, South Africa on Tuesday.
- The 22-year qualified for the Summer Olympics by throwing 87.86 m in his fourth attempt and crossing the 85 m Olympic qualification mark.
- Neeraj became the 63rd quota for the Olympic games. He is only the third from athletics after K Irfan (20 km race walking) and 4x400 mixed relay team.
Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra returns from his injury with a bang! Neeraj won the gold at the Athletics Central North East Meeting league in Potchefstroom, South Africa on Tuesday. And by doing so, the 22-year old has now qualified for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo after he threw 87.86 m in his fourth attempt and crossed the 85 m Olympic qualification mark.
A great come back from injury by @Neeraj_chopra1 and then qualifying for @Tokyo2020 Olympics is a great achievement! Determination, passion and strength made it possible to throw 87.86m much beyond the qualifying benchmark of 85m. Well done Neeraj! https://t.co/hec7mHR4Nz
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) January 29, 2020
In his first competitive event since his return from injury, Neeraj started with an 81.63 m throw in his first attempt and kept improving with every throw. Neeraj hit 82m in his second attempt and outdid it with 82.57 in the next.
— Athletics Federation of India (@afiindia) January 28, 2020
He was in a competition of his own, as three of the five javelin throwers did not even touch the 70 m mark. Another Indian who was present at the Mc Author stadium was Rohit Yadav. Yadav finished second with his best throw of 77.61.
While there were earlier doubts if the event was a recognised event, the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) later said that they received confirmation from Athletics South Africa (ASA) that event was a ‘recognised international meet’.
Neeraj became the 63rd quota for the Olympic games. He is only the third from athletics after K Irfan (20 km race walking) and 4×400 mixed relay team.
Here's the result list for @Neeraj_chopra1 's event. @afiindia says they've confirmed with the SA federation that it's a 'recognised int meet' so Olympic cut has been achieved. #tokyoolympics pic.twitter.com/cz0NpwN0WY
— Andrew Amsan (@AndrewAmsan) January 28, 2020
Neeraj’s comeback from a year-long injury layoff
Neeraj last represented India in 2018, winning the gold at the Jakarta Asian Games while also setting the national record of 88.06 m.
Neeraj was then hit with an elbow injury for which he underwent a surgery in May.
Feeling super awesome to be back in the competition mode.
Thank you everyone for your good wishes and supporting me always?जय हिंद ?? pic.twitter.com/gO8iCMG8Di
— Neeraj Chopra (@Neeraj_chopra1) January 28, 2020
Neeraj was highly expected to compete in the National Championships towards the end of the year. However, the AFI did not grant him clearance, giving him more time to recover.