On 7th August, Neeraj Chopra created history after becoming the first athlete to win a gold medal for India in the javelin throw. He is the second individual to win a gold in Olympics after Abhinav Bindra, who won gold in the 2008 Olympics in the shooting.
Now let’s look at the sport which finally brought a gold medal to India:-
History of Javelin Throw
The technique of throwing the javelin far and with accuracy was something that was practiced in ancient Greece. It was a hunting and fighting activity at first.
However, later in 708 BC, it was included in the ancient Olympic Games as a part of the pentathlon. Both males and females participated in this event.
The javelin throw as a sport, was introduced in 1908 for males and 1932 for females in the modern Olympics Games.
Uwe Hohn of East Germany set the World record of 104.8 meters. He was the only athlete to throw the Javelin beyond the 100 meters mark. This throw brought in danger of men throwing the javelin beyond the area permitted in a common stadium.
In 1986, men’s javelin was modified by shifting the center of gravity four cm forward. This helped in lowering the nose earlier and steeper, eventually resulting in a 10% reduction of throwing distance. As a result of this change, in 1999 women’s javelin were also changed.
The Czech athlete Jan Železný is regarded as the greatest male javelin thrower in the history of the sport. He won a hat-trick of the Olympic Championship from 1992 to 2000. He also set the World Record with a throw of 98.48 meters.
Barbora Špotáková, a compatriot of Železný, is also considered as the greatest female javelin thrower in history. She won back-to-back gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. She has set the Women’s World Record with a throw of 72.28 meters.
How does the Javelin throw work ?
It is an event in which the participants try to throw the javelin as far as they can. Javelin throw requires a blend of strength, coordination, power, accuracy and timing.
The participants are required to hold the javelin with their little finger closest to the tip of the javelin. It should be held in a corded grip by the athlete.
The minimum weight of a men’s javelin must be 800g and should measure between 2.6m to 2.7m in length. Meanwhile, the javelin for women must weigh 600g and measure between 2.2m to 2.3m.
The athletes are not required to turn his or her back to the landing area at any point during the approach and throw. The javelin is to be tossed over the upper portion of their throwing arm, and should not close the foul line.
In addition with it, the tip of the javelin must hit the ground first within the designated 29-degree sector.
The throw of the athletes is measured from the point where the tip hits the ground first. During a competition, athletes usually throw three to six times.
To determine the winner in case of a tie the one who puts the best effort next is declared the winner. Before a major competition final, a qualification round takes place.
The Rules of Javelin Throw
- The weight, size, shape, & center of gravity of the javelin sport are all defined by IAAF rules.
- The javelin is to be held from the grip and is to be thrown overhead.
- It is prohibited to athletes not to turn their back around such that their back faces the javelin throws direction.
- Javelin throw is considered legal only if the tip of the javelin hits the ground first and it lands within the 29 degree sector. Moreover the tip should make a spike in the ground.
- The athlete who throws the longest single legal throw is the winner.
Neeraj Chopra : The man who won first gold medal for India in track and field
The 23-year-old Neeraj Chopra hails from Haryana. He is a Subedar of the Indian Army’s 4 Rajputana Rifles.
In 2011 Neeraj first started to throw the Javelin. In 2016, he won the World Junior Championship in Poland. He continued showing his potential in the 2018 Asian Games and Commonwealth Games as he won gold in both events.
Eventually, in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he created history by becoming the first Indian to win a gold in track and field. After his win, the Haryana government awarded him with Rs. 6 crore for his achievement.
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