Name: Neeraj Chopra
Event: Athletics (Javelin Throw)
Commonwealth Games Experience: Debut
Best performance: Gold Medal in 2017 Asian Championships in New Delhi
21-year-old Neeraj Chopra is among the younger crop of athletes who will represent India at the Gold Coast this year. Born in Khandra village in Haryana, Chopra is highly rated among javelin throwers and shot to fame a young age when he set a world junior record by winning the gold medal in 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships (Poland).
Neeraj’s ability to deliver at the big stage will augur well for India as he competes against some of the world’s best javelin throwers. A student of DAV College in Chandigarh, Chopra also has the distinction of becoming the first ever Indian to hold a world record in athletics (junior and senior) after winning the gold medal at the 2016 South Asian Games with a throw of 82.23 m.
Former coach Garry Calvert is of opinion that the youngster has an abundance of natural talent and all he needs to do is channelize is it properly. “He’s the javelin equivalent to Mitchell Johnson,” Calvert had told The Indian Express.
Considered to be one of the brightest prospects for India at the Gold Coast, the Commonwealth Games might well prove to be the career-defining tournament for the youngster. But one thing Chopra has to be careful about is remaining injury-free. However, Chopra made a strong return to the domestic competition circuit, winning the Indian Grand Prix and hence will have his tail up at the Gold Coast.