Neeraj Chopra
Neeraj Chopra Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

New Delhi: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Wednesday congratulated country’s ace javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra as he qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a throw of 87.86 metres at the Athletics Central North East meeting in South Africa.

Taking to Twitter, Rijiju said: “A great comeback from injury by Neeraj Chopra and then qualifying for Tokyo 2020.”

“Olympics is a great achievement! Determination, passion and strength made it possible to throw 87.86m much beyond the qualifying benchmark of 85m. Well done Neeraj!” he added.

An elbow injury had forced Neeraj to miss competitive action for most part of 2019. He was expected to participate in the National Open Athletics Championship late last year, but the AFI decided to allow Neeraj more time to get competition ready.

“I am extremely pleased with the performance. Going into the competition, I did not try to put much pressure on myself and was keen to test myself out as it was my first meet in a long time. The warm-up throws went very well, and even though my first three throws were around the 81-82m mark, I felt there were some flaws I could work on,” Chopra said from Potchefstroom after the meet.

“This was a major target for me during my rehab and I’m happy to have qualified. I will now get back to my regular training here in Potchefstroom with my coach and physio in a few days’ time and continue my training towards the Olympics. I will look to compete more in the coming months and am looking forward to more high quality competition at the Federation Cup and the Diamond League circuit.”