Neeraj Chopra, the acclaimed Olympic champion from India, has scripted history once again by clinching the gold at the World Athletics Championships. In an awe-inspiring showdown, Chopra outshone his rivals and etched his name as the first Indian to seize the coveted gold medal in the men’s javelin final. His monumental throw of 88.17 meters propelled him to victory, surpassing Pakistan’s Arshad Nadeem.
Having previously secured Olympic gold in Tokyo 2021, Chopra’s journey to dominance encountered a momentary silver in the world championships held in the United States last year. A remarkable achievement in its own right, the only other Indian to grace the world championships podium was Anju Bobby George, who claimed bronze in the women’s long jump back in 2003 in Paris.
Chopra, who had two more of his teammates in the field – the first time in history for India – tried to throw farther but his subsequent throws landed at 86.32m, 84.64m, 87.73m and 83.98m. His compatriots Kishore Jena (84.77m) and DP Manu (84.14m) placed fifth and sixth at the end of the day.
Nadeem of Pakistan, making a triumphant return from elbow surgery and a knee injury, summoned his season’s finest effort of 87.82 meters during his third attempt, earning him the silver medal. Meanwhile, Jakub Vadlejch from the Czech Republic claimed the bronze with an 86.67-meter throw.
“This is a brilliant moment for my country. After clinching Olympic gold, winning the world championships was a personal aspiration. The victory is not only for me but for the entire national team,” remarked an elated Chopra. He further emphasized, “While I am honored to bring this title home, I consider myself a part of a greater team effort.”
The heartwarming story unfolded against the backdrop of the longstanding rivalry between India and Pakistan, usually associated with cricket. However, on this warm night in Budapest, all eyes were fixed on these two athletes vying for javelin supremacy.
Beyond the competitive arena, Chopra and Nadeem have exemplified sportsmanship by extending support to each other, transcending the political tensions between their respective nations. Reflecting on Chopra’s victory, Nadeem expressed his joy and highlighted the shared podium for both nations.
The camaraderie between the two was evident as they stood side by side, arms intertwined, after receiving their well-earned medals. This symbolic gesture resonated deeply and was hailed by leaders, celebrities, and citizens alike.
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to social media, describing Chopra as a “symbol of unparalleled excellence in the entire sports world.”
Similarly, across the border, Pakistani social media was ablaze with admiration for Nadeem.
“What a day!” the country’s caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar posted on X. “You’ve made the nation happy.”
The scarcity of resources and facilities in the cricket-focused nation did not deter Nadeem’s achievement, with former cricket captain Wasim Akram lauding the silver medal as “worth more than gold.”
As celebrations erupted on both sides of the border, it was evident that in this exceptional sporting triumph, the unifying spirit of athletics triumphed over all differences.