P.T. Usha on Neeraj Chopra's gold: This will change our sport forever

Chopra's smart strategy of producing a big throw at the start clearly rattled the rest of the field, including Vetter who opened with a poor 82m.

Former India athlete P.T. Usha is all praise for Neeraj Chopra's confidence.   -  FILE PHOTO/ B. Velankanni Raj

He was making his Olympic debut in Tokyo but one did not notice any pressure on Neeraj Chopra's face. In sharp contrast, German Johannes Vetter, the man who had the second-longest throw in history (97.76m) and who had won his 19 previous meets, appeared lost from the start.

This was probably the first time an Indian was dominating an event at the Olympics. Watching Neeraj offered plenty of lessons for athletes on how to handle the big stage.

His smart strategy of producing a big throw at the start clearly rattled the rest of the field, including Vetter, who opened with a poor 82m, slipped and fell and messed up his next two attempts, and made an exit after just three throws.

READ| Neeraj Chopra looked fearless, says double Olympian J.J. Shobha

“I've not seen an Indian so confident at the Olympics. After his first throw, I felt he would take the gold,” said P.T. Usha, who had come painfully close to a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. “This will change our sport forever,” she added.

In the qualification round, too, his opening throw had silenced the rest and packed off the world's second-and third-best throwers, Poland's Marcin Krukowski and Trinidad and Tobago's 2012 Olympic champion Keshorn Walcott. Both had both thrown above 89m this year.

Pakistan's Arshad Nadeem, who was third after the qualification round behind Neeraj and Vetter, crumbled under expectations and finished fifth.

Despite being the world's fourth-ranked thrower this year, Neeraj proved that on his day he could beat anybody.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :