Oregon: Rivalry in sports is a common affair. It is impossible to keep two great teams or individuals in any sport in a sword sheath together. So is the case with two contemporary javelin throwers, Anderson Peters and Neeraj Chopra.
Neeraj Chopra, the gold medalist in the javelin throw at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, won a silver medal at the World Athletics Championships 2022 in Oregon, becoming the second Indian and first male athlete to do so. Earlier, Anju Bobby George had brought the maiden medal, a bronze in long jump, for the country at Paris in 2003.
Anderson Peters’ remarkable throw of 90.54m fetched him a gold medal, while Tokyo 2020 silver medallist Jakub Vadlejch had to settle for a bronze with a throw of 88.09m.
Neeraj Chopra and Anderson Peters both had javelins in their hands just for fun. Neeraj was overweight and wanted to turn slim, so he caught a spear in his hand and started throwing it as far as possible. He took an interest in this sport and his curiosity in the game gradually grew, which made him a household name in India and abroad. He became the second Indian who won a gold medal in the Olympics after Aunbhav Bindra, who achieved this feat in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Come on, the Anderson’s story, who once wanted to become a fast bowler to follow some of the great Caribbean blood-thirsty speedsters. He belonged to a small country whose population is merely 1.13 million (2020). He first picked up the javelin in his hand at the age of 10 in school with the aim of hurling stones at mangoes and apple trees hanging high.
Something else was written into his destiny, and he made history at the World Athletics Championships by becoming the second athlete in javelin history to win back-to-back world titles. Before him, the Czech great Jan Železný achieved this milestone.
The hostility between Neeraj and Anderson will continue. People are anxiously waiting for their next showdown, which is set to take place at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, when the two will match up against each other on August 7, 2022.
Their challenge got underway in 2016 at the U-20 World Athletics Championships held at the Zdzislaw Krzyszkowiak stadium in Poland. Despite a friendly relationship outside of track and field, both have become arch-rivals on the ground. Neeraj went on to fetch gold, and Anderson had to settle for bronze. In the 2018 CWG, Neeraj once again left Anderson behind and got the gold while Anderson finished with the bronze.
Neeraj Chopra has a chance to take revenge at the upcoming CWG in Birmingham by toppling Anderson in the javelin final.