Athletics World C’ships: Neeraj Chopra look to end medal drought

Oregan (USA), July 14 (FN Agency) Tokyo Olympics javelin champion Neeraj Chopra will spearhead the 23-member Indian squad competing at the World Athletics Championships 2022, which gets underway from July 15.All eyes will be on Chopra as he will be aiming to end the 19-year long wait when he take the field here on July 22 in the mens javelin event. India’s first and only medal at the world athletics championships came in 2003, when Anju Bobby George won long jump bronze.Reigning Olympic champion has made an impressive return to competitive event after along hiatus last month as he clinched silver medal in the javelin throw with a national record effort at the Paavo Nurmi Games.

The event in Finland was Chopra’s first competition after winning the historic gold medal at Tokyo Olympics 2020 in August last year.He then won gold at the Kuortane Games in Finland. Later at the Stockholm Diamond League, he finished second, setting a new national record. Besides aiming the medal in Oregan, the 24-year-old thrower will also look to enter the 90m club, which he missed by a whisker at the Diamond League. The Indian star failed to make the finals at the 2017 world athletics championships and then missed the 2019 edition in Doha due to injury. Alongside Chopra, Up-and-coming javelin thrower Rohit Yadav will also compete in the men’s javelin throw event. The qualification round will be held early on on July 22 (in India). The final is scheduled for July 24.India’s other medal prospects will be national record holder steeplechaser Avinash Sable, Olympian shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor and triple jumpers Abdulla Aboobacker and Praveen Chitravel.

Long jumpers Murali Sreeshankar and Jeswin Aldrin, a late entry to the Indian squad, will also back themselves to do well, having registered the third and fourth-best marks in the world this year, respectively. India Squad:Men: Avinash Sable (3000m steeplechase), MP Jabir (400m hurdles), Murali Sreeshankar, Jeswin Aldrin and Muhammed Anees Yahiya (long jump), Abdulla Aboobacker, Praveen Chithravel and Eldhose Paul (triple jump), Tajinderpal Singh Toor (shot put), Neeraj Chopra and Rohit Yadav (javelin throw), Sandeep Kumar (20km race walk), Arokia Rajiv, Noah Nirmal Tom, Muhammed Ajmal, Naganathan Pandi, Rajesh Ramesh and Muhammed Anas Yahiya (4x400m)Women: Dhanalakhsmi Sekar (200m), Aishwarya Kailash Mishra (400m), Parul Chaudhary (3000m steeplechase), Annu Rani (javelin throw), Priyanka Goswami (20km race walk)