New Delhi: India’s star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has etched his name in the history books by becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in the javelin event at the Asian Games 2023. The 25-year-old athlete, who won the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, repeated his feat with a stunning throw of 88.88 meters in his fifth attempt at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia. He broke his own national record of 88.07 meters, which he had set at the Federation Cup in March this year.
Chopra was followed by his compatriot Kishore Jena, who clinched the silver medal with a throw of 84.23 meters. Jena, who had qualified for the final with a personal best of 83.36 meters, improved his mark and gave India a rare one-two finish in the event. The bronze medal went to China’s Liu Qizhen, who threw 82.22 meters.
With this, India has won its 17th gold medal at the Asian Games 2023, surpassing its previous best tally of 15 gold medals at the 2018 edition in Jakarta and Palembang. India is currently fourth in the medal table with a total of 81 medals, including 17 gold, 25 silver and 39 bronze.
India also dominated the relay events, as the men’s 4x400m relay team won the gold medal with a new Asian Games record of 3:01.85. The quartet of Amoj Jacob, Arokia Rajiv, Muhammed Anas, and Noah Nirmal Tom ran a superb race and beat the defending champions Qatar, who clocked 3:01.89. Japan took the bronze medal with a time of 3:03.28.
The women’s 4x400m relay team also performed brilliantly and won the silver medal with a time of 3:27.93. The team of Aishwarya Mishra, Prachi Choudhary, Shubha Venkatesan, and Vithya Ramaswamy gave a tough fight to the gold medalists Bahrain, who finished in 3:26.89. China bagged the bronze medal with a time of 3:29.32.
Another medal for India came from long-distance runner Avinash Sable, who won the silver medal in the men’s 5000m race with a time of 13:39.40. Sable, who had earlier won the gold medal in the men’s 3000m steeplechase with a new national record of 8:15.56, showed his endurance and speed in the final lap and finished behind Bahrain’s Birhanu Balew, who clocked 13:38.96. The bronze medal went to Japan’s Hiroki Abe, who ran 13:40.39