Watch: Neeraj defends Asian Games crown with second successive gold; Kishore seals silver in historic 1-2 for India
World champion Neeraj Chopra defended his gold medal at the Asian Games to cap off a successful 2023 season in Hangzhou.
Headlining the athletics contingent of India at the Asian Game 2023, superstar Neeraj Chopra announced his arrival in the men's javelin throw event on Wednesday. The reigning world champion capped off a spectacular 2023 season by successfully defending his gold medal at the continental showpiece in Hangzhou.
Neeraj produced an impressive throw of 88.88 to seal the gold-medal finish in the men's javelin throw event at Hangzhou. The men's final event was not a cakewalk for Neeraj as the javelin superstar's title bid was challenged by his compatriot Kishore Kumar Jena, who secured the silver medal in the summit clash. India's first and only athletics world champion, Neeraj kickstarted the proceedings with a statement throw of 82.38 in the javelin final.
Neeraj re-takes first throw in Asian Games final
Interestingly, Neeraj fired a massive throw over 82m to kick off his Asian Games campaign. However, a technical glitch prevented the Hangzhou officials from registering his massive first throw. Competing in the men's final, India's Kishore Jena opened his account with a brilliant throw of 81.26.
Neeraj's arch-rival and world silver medallist Arshad Nadeem pulled out of the Asian Games due to a knee injury. Interestingly, Neeraj has outclassed Pakistan's Nadeem in every competition. Neeraj claimed gold in the 2018 edition of the Asian Games while Nadeem finished third on the podium at the time. With Pakistan missing Nadeem in the men's javelin final, Yasir Muhammad spearheaded the charge of the Green Army with a throw of 72.19.
Regains top spot from Jena
China's Hu Haoran, Kim Dani of North Korea, Chinese Taipei's Cheng Chao-Tsun and Huang Shih-Feng fouled their opening attempts at the Big Lotus stadium. Neeraj improved his performance with a medal-securing throw of 84.49 on his second attempt. Dethroning Neeraj from the top spot, Jena came up with a stunning throw of 86.77 while the Indian world champion fouled his third attempt. In the see-saw battle with his compatriot at the Asian Games, Neeraj regained the top spot with a mammoth throw of 88.88m in his fourth attempt.
In a historic 1-2 for India, Neeraj won the gold while Jena sealed silver for India in the men's javelin event at the Asian Games. Earlier, Neeraj sealed a historic World Athletics Championships title with the best throw of 88.17m in Budapest. He finished second in the Diamond League with a throw of 85.71 in Zurich. The 25-year-old is the third javelin thrower in history to hold the Olympic and World Championships titles.