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A hero's welcome for first Indian athlete to win world title

Chopra missed his Olympic berth as he could not cross the qualification mark of 83 metres within the set deadline. But the World Championship feat has revived his Olympic dreams. Photograph: (Getty)

Reuters New Delhi, India Jul 27, 2016, 06.53 AM (IST)
The first ever Indian athlete to hold a world title, Neeraj Chopra arrived home in New Delhi to a hero's welcome today after winning javelin throw at the U-20 World Championships in Poland.

Chopra, 18, also created history by becoming the first Indian athlete to set a world record at any level.

He sent the spear to a distance of 86.48m in his second round, nearly two metres beyond earlier world Under-20 record of 84.69m held by Latvia's Zigismunds Sirmais.

The young javelin thrower was welcomed with emphatic drum beats and garlanded by fans and family members at the airport in New Delhi.

"I have won a medal for the country and I am very happy. Federation is trying for my wild-card entry in Olympics. It's good if it works, or else I will keep working hard," Chopra said.

Chopra missed his Olympic berth as he could not cross the qualification mark of 83 metres within the set deadline - July 18. But the World Championship feat has revived his Olympic dreams.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) has written to the world governing body International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) to consider Chopra for a wild card entry in next month's Rio Olympics.

(Reuters)
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