New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Star athlete and javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was born on December 24, 1997 in Khandra village in Panipat district of Haryana. As a child, Neeraj loved playing volleyball and kabaddi rather than javelin throw. But at the age of 14, he became so attached to the javelin throw that today India expects an Olympic medal from him in athletics. Neeraj showed promise as a star javelin thrower at a very young age. He has broken several national and international records in many competitions. He is also a Naib Subedar in the Indian Army. Interestingly, he is compared to former Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson. Neeraj's former coach Garry Calvert used to compare him to the left-arm bowler. Before joining cricket, Johnson wanted to become a javelin thrower.

Neeraj Chopra's achievements:

- Threw a record 68.46 meters javelin in Under 16 National Junior Championships in Lucknow in 2012.

- A record 86.48m throw in the Junior World Championships in 2016.

- In 2018 Commonwealth Games, he won gold by throwing 86.47 meters javelin.

- In the 2017 Jakarta Asian Games, he won the gold by throwing 88.06 meters.

Neeraj Chopra was awarded the Arjuna Award in 2018 after winning gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

As the Olympics return to Tokyo after 57 years, the focus will be on Chopra, who recently set the national record of 88.07 during the Indian Grand Prix 3 at Patiala, and has maintained his position among the top-four javelin throwers in the world this season.

Germany's Johannes Vetter, who hurled the spear to 96.29 metres in May and registered the top-seven distances in javelin this season, is streets ahead of the competition as none of his competitors have gone past 90 metres.

Vetter is the overwhelming favourite for the gold and the fight for the remaining medals could be between Marcin Krukowski of Poland and Keshorn Walcott of Trinidad and Tobago, who bagged gold in 2012 London Games and bronze at 2016 Rio.

While Krukowski had a throw of 89.55m last month and Walcott has produced 89.12 this season, Chopra is placed fourth on the list.

The 23-year-old Chopra hurled the spear to a distance of 88.78 metres, his season's best at the Indian Grand Prix 3, and followed it up with 86.07 metres at the Kuortane Games in Finland.

He also had efforts of 83.18m in Lisbon, which fetched him gold, and a below-par 80.96m at the Karlstad Grand Prix in Sweden in June.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma