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Olympic champion Neeraj Chopra targets World Athletics Championships gold to equal Anju Bobby George's feat

New Delhi, Aug 10: India's star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has achieved the pinnacle of his sporting career with his Tokyo 2020 Olympics gold medal, but the 23-year-old isn't content with the historic feat.

Neeraj became only the second Indian to claim an individual yellow metal at the Olympic podium after shooter Abhinav Bindra; and the first medal winner for the country in the track and field event.

The Haryana-lad is basking in the glory and the much-deserved attention after his triumphant return from the Japanese capital but he has already set his sights on the upcoming international events.

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Neeraj - who clinched a gold medal at the Olympic Stadium with his throw of 87.58meters in the finals - aims to breach the 90meter-mark and top the podium at the next year's athletics championships.

While interacting with the media at a felicitation event organised by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) to celebrate impressive performances of the country's athletes in Tokyo, Neeraj revealed what's on his mind now.

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"My next target is the IAAF World Athletics Championship 2022 and I'd like to win a gold medal there as well. The competition at the World Athletics Championships is sometimes better than the Olympics. The only Indian athlete to have won a gold medal at the World Championships is Anju (Bobby George) ma'am and I would also try my level best to top the podium there as well."

Anju Bobby George is the first and only athlete from India to have won a medal at the World Athletics Championships when she won a bronze medal in the long jump at the 2003 IAAF World Championships in Paris. In the 2005 World Championships, Anju Bobby George won a silver medal in Monte Carlo. Anju's silver was later upgraded to gold following the disqualification of Tatyana Kotova of Russia in 2005.

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Anju - who is currently the Chairperson of TOPS (Target Olympic Podium Scheme) - was present at the AFI event in Delhi and congratulated Neeraj for bringing gold in track-and-field.

"I thank you, Neeraj for bringing the gold in athletics in the Olympics. It will act as a major shot in the arm for Indian Athletics. We have great expectations from Neeraj and other athletes. The credit for this achievement also goes to the AFI," said George, who is also the executive member of the Khelo India project.

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Several top javelin throwers in the world are registering in excess of 90-meters and Neeraj understands that he'll have to breach that mark to be in the reckoning for a medal at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, USA.

"I have been practising hard to touch the 90m-mark. I need to work on my angle of release and technique to achieve it. It is my dream to breach the 90m-mark and will be working in that direction."

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Story first published: Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 16:59 [IST]
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