Tokyo: There's one thing about being a favourite and being a king of expectations and then there's other part where you have to actually deliver on field. Calm and composed Neeraj Chopra seems to have mastered both of them.
All eyes were on Neeraj Chopra to deliver India's elusive Olympic medal in athletics and end a wait of 100 years in the men's javelin throw final here on Saturday and he certainly did.
A pre-tournament medal contender, the 23-year-old Chopra fuelled country's expectations by topping the qualification round with a stunning first round throw of 86.59m.
On the D-day, Neeraj Chopra delivered not once, but twice. His first throw of 87.03 was bettered by 87.58! Enough for him to bag gold.
The closest someone came to threaten Neeraj Chopra's throw was Czech Republic's Jakub Vadlejch, who with an enormous 86.67, almost breached Neeraj Chopra's 87.58m!
Three track and field athletes were part of the five-member Indian team at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, the other two being wrestlers. Since then, no Indian has won a medal in athletics.
A farmer's son from Khandra village near Panipat in Haryana who took up athletics to shed flab, Chopra scripted history by winning the elusive medal, which the likes of late Milkha Singh and P T Usha let it slip from their grasp in 1964 and 1984 editions.
"I am at my first Olympic Games, and I feel very good. In warm-up my performance wasn't so good, but then (in the qualifying round) my first throw had a good angle, and was a perfect throw," Chopra had said after the qualifying round on Wednesday.
Chopra's performance on Saturday was one of the best performances by an Indian in the Olympics, as he finished ahead of gold medal favourite and 2017 world champion Johannes Vetter of Germany.