Potchefstroom (South Africa): Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.86m at the Athletics Central North East meeting, returning to action after recovering from an elbow injury, here.
The 22-year-old Indian, who missed the entire 2019 season due to the injury, breached the Olympic qualification mark of 85m with his effort during the international event on Tuesday.
“I’m happy with the result as I went in to the competition with mindset to warm-up for the season. Once I did well with the first three throws (all being above 80m), I decided to push a bit harder in the fourth attempt,” said Neeraj, the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medallist.
Another Indian in fray, Rohit Yadav threw 77.61m.
Neeraj had missed the IAAF World Championships, the Diamond League and the Asian Championships while recovering from the injury.
His last major international competition was the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games where he won gold with a national record of 88.06m.
The Indian had undergone a surgery in May 2019 to treat the injury. He was expected to compete at the National Championship late last year but the AFI didn’t give him clearance, allowing him more time to heal.
National record holder KT Irfan had became the first Indian from athletics to qualify for the 2020 Olympics when he finished fourth in the 20km event of the Asian Race Walking Championships in Nomi, Japan in March 2019.
India’s mixed 4x400m relay team had also qualified for the Games after a top-eight finish at the Doha World Championships.