Neeraj Chopra

Neeraj Chopra(Image Credits: Instagram/ @neeraj____chopra)

Indian track and field athlete Neeraj Chopra specializes in the javelin throw. He is the current Olympic champion in the javelin throw, the World Championship silver medalist, and the Diamond League champion. He is the first athlete from Asia to win the men's Javelin Throw gold medal at the Olympics. Chopra competed at both the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games in the year 2018 and took home gold in both competitions. Neeraj made his Olympic debut at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and claimed the gold medal with a throw of 87.58 meters on his second attempt. Chopra became the second Indian to win a medal at the World Athletics Championships on July 23, 2022, with a throw of 88.13 meters, following Anju Bobby George. Anju has previously won the bronze medal in the women's long jump event at the World Athletics Championships in 2003.

Youth Athletic Career

Initially, Neeraj weighed 80 kg at the age of eleven. In order to be back in shape, he visited the Panipat Sports Authority of India center during vacations. He traveled by bus for about 17 kilometers to reach the stadium and returned home with his uncle who worked in Panipat city. Although he used to run for losing weight, he didn’t feel it was fun. At the stadium, he saw his senior Jaiveer Choudhary representing Haryana in Javelin. Jaiveer once recommended Neeraj to try his hands at Javelin and since then, there has been no looking back for Neeraj.

Choudhary became Chopra’s first coach after noticing that the athlete could throw 40 meters without any prior training and being moved by his desire. Chopra picked up the fundamentals of the sport from Choudhary and a few other more seasoned competitors who had worked with a Jalandhar-based javelin coach. Soon after, he won his first medal, a bronze medal in the district championships. He then persuaded his family to let him live in Panipat while he improved his skills.

Chopra, who was 13 then, was accepted into Panchkula’s Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex after a year of training with Choudhary. The sports complex was one of just two facilities in Haryana at the time that had an artificial runway. He trained there with running coach Naseem Ahmad, who made him practice for the javelin throw and long-distance running at the same time. He and another javelin thrower Parminder Singh obtained recordings of the Czech champion Jan Zelezny and tried to imitate his technique because Panchkula lacked a dedicated javelin instructor. Chopra’s earliest throws at Tau Devi were normally about 55 meters, but he eventually expanded his range.

Junior Athletic Career

On October 27, 2012, he won gold at the National Junior Athletics Championships in Lucknow with a new national record throw of 68.40 meters. Neeraj Chopra competed in his first-ever international competition which was the World Youth Championships Ukraine 2013. In 2014, he won his first international medal, a silver in the Youth Olympics Qualification in Bangkok. At the 2014 Senior Nationals, he made his first throw of more than 70 meters. With his first throw of more than 80 meters in 2015’s All India Inter-University Athletics event, Chopra smashed the junior division’s previous world record by throwing 81.04 meters.

Chopra came fifth at the 2015 National Games in Kerala and was subsequently called back for the national-level training camp. He left Panchkula in 2016 to train at the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports in Patiala. According to Chopra, his selection in the national camp constituted a watershed moment in his career. It was because he received better facilities, a higher quality diet, and a higher grade of training than was available in Panchkula.

Senior Professional Career

Chopra set a new personal best at the athletics finals at the 2016 South Asian Games in Guwahati on 9 February, winning gold with a throw of 82.23 meters, falling short of the 83-meter Olympic qualifying bar. Chopra won gold at the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland, and broke a world junior mark of 86.48 m, becoming the first Indian athlete to do so while also creating a new national record. Despite having a better U20 record than defending Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott, he could not qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics since the cut-off date was 11 July, the week before the U20 championships. He then moved from the Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports to the Sports Authority of India facility in Bangalore in September 2016 to begin his training.

With a throw of 85.23 meters, Chopra won gold at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships. He claimed the men’s javelin throw at the 2018 Commonwealth Games with a season-best effort of 86.47 meters, becoming the first Indian to do so. He once more smashed the record in May 2018 at the Doha Diamond League with a throw of 87.43 meters. Chopra represented India for the first time at the Asian Games in August 2018 and served as the contingent’s flag bearer during the Parade of Nations. He broke his Indian national record on August 27 by throwing a distance of 88.06 m to win gold in the men’s javelin throw event at the 2018 Asian Games. At the Asian Games, it was also India’s first gold medal in the javelin throw.

On August 4, 2021, Chopra made his Olympic debut for India. He won his qualifying group to advance to the final with a throw of 86.65m. With a throw of 87.58m in the final on August 7, Chopra became the first Indian Olympian to earn a gold medal in athletics and the first Indian Olympian to win a medal in sports since independence. Chopra became the second Indian after Abhinav Bindra to win an individual Olympic gold medal. He dedicated his victory to sprinters Milkha Singh and P. T. Usha, the two prominent names in Indian Athletics.

Neeraj won a silver medal in the Stockholm Diamond League 2022 with a throw of 89.94m, breaking his own personal best.  Neeraj secured a historic silver medal for himself in the men’s javelin throw final in Oregon 2022 with a throw of 88.13m on his fourth try. Following the bronze medal won by long-jumper Anju Bobby George in 2003, this was India’s sole other medal in the World Championships. He took first place at the Lausanne Diamond League event on August 26, 2022, with a throw of 89.09m, qualifying for the Zurich Final and the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. He claimed the 2022 Diamond League in Zürich on September 8, 2022, with a best throw of 88.44 meters.


Medals at Major Championships

Events Total Gold Silver Bronze
Olympic Games 1 1 0 0
World Championships 1 0 1 0
Diamond League 1 1 0 0
Asian Games 1 1 0 0
Commonwealth Games 1 1 0 0
Asian Championships 1 1 0 0
South Asian Games 1 1 0 0
World Junior Championships 1 1 0 0
Asian Junior Championships 1 0 1 0

Greatest Rivalry

Arshad Nadeem and Johannes Vetter are considered to be Neeraj’s greatest rivals. Although Neeraj dominated for a long time over Nadeem, it was finally Nadeem’s time to conquer and show his prowess to the world. He did so by becoming the Commonwealth Games 2022 champion, defeating the reigning World Champion Anderson Peters, with a gigantic throw of 90.18 m in the finals. With this, he became the first-ever athlete from South Asia to breach the 90m mark. His another rival Vetter is a former world champion from Germany, having won the title in the year 2017. His personal best is 97.76m which he established in the year 2020.

Records set at Major Events

Event Best Result Mark
Summer Olympics Tokyo 2020 87.58 m
World Championships Oregon 2022 88.13 m
Diamond League Stockholm 2022 89.94 m

Personal Life

Neeraj Chopra was born on December 24, 1997, in Khandra Panipat, Haryana, to a Ror family. He has two sisters, and his family is primarily concerned in agriculture. He went to BVN Public School for his education. After completing his studies at Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College in Chandigarh, he is currently enrolled at Lovely Professional University in Jalandhar, Punjab, where he is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree. The Indian Army gave Chopra a straight appointment as a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in the Rajputana Rifles with the rank of Naib Subedar after being impressed by his performance at the South Asian Games and his future potential. He agreed to the offer and enlisted in the army through the sports quota.


Indian javelin thrower and Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra in a file photo (Image Credits: Twitter)

Indian javelin thrower and Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra in a file photo (Image Credits: Twitter) Indian javelin thrower and Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra in a file photo (Image Credits: Twitter)

Neeraj Chopra in action (Image Credits - Twitter)

Neeraj Chopra in action (Image Credits - Twitter) Neeraj Chopra in action (Image Credits - Twitter)

Neeraj Chopra after a massive throw in the finals of Tokyo 2020 (Image Credits:

Neeraj Chopra after a massive throw in the finals of Tokyo 2020 (Image Credits:

Neeraj Chopra with the gold medal (Neeraj in a file photo; Image Credits -Twitter)

Neeraj Chopra with the gold medal (Neeraj in a file photo; Image Credits -Twitter)