The 2018 Asian games gold-medalist, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on Tuesday. Neeraj, who was making a comeback, after recovering from an elbow injury in his first competitive event, marked 87.86 metres to qualify Tokyo 2020 qualification at the Athletics Central North East Meeting held in South Africa.
The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) also said that they've confirmed with their South African counterparts that it was a ‘recognised international meet', and hence the Olympic cut has been made.
This was the Olympic medal hopeful's first competitive event after recovering from the injury.
🚨Neeraj Chopra qualified for #tokyo2020 🚨@Neeraj_chopra1 qualified for Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a throw of 87.86m in southafrica 🇿🇦 today.— INDIAN ATHLETES (@indian_athletes) January 28, 2020
Congratulations @Neeraj_chopra1👏👏👏 #ProudMoment #javelinthrow pic.twitter.com/AJaiD8oG5x
"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.
Apart from Neeraj, there were four more participants in the event, which included India's Rohit Yadav who aimed the second spot with a best throw of 77.61m. While the other three participants were all from France and could not even breach the 70m mark in the event at the Kenneth McArthur Stadium in South Africa.
Neeraj's last major international competition was the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games last August 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.
(With PTI Inputs)