Neeraj Chopra wins Sportstar Aces Track and Field Sportsman of the Decade

Neeraj Chopra recently bettered his own national record with an 88.07m throw at the third Indian Grand Prix in March, where he returned to competition after more than a year due to the Covid-19 shutdown.

Neeraj Chopra

Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra won the gold medal at the Commonwealth and Asian Games in 2018.   -  PTI

Indian javelin star Neeraj Chopra was named Sportsman of the Decade (Track and Field) at the 2021 Sportstar ACES Awards.

“I’d like to thank Sportstar magazine, my fellow sportspersons and the jury members for choosing me as the Sportsman of the Decade. When I was starting off with the javelin in the last decade, I had some lows in the middle from which I am still learning a lot. I pray that with your continued love and support, I’ll keep making my country proud,” Chopra said on receiving the award.

You can watch the event live by visiting the following link - bit.ly/SSAATHG. There would be three more episodes on April 2, 3 and 4.

The Haryanvi athlete shot to prominence by winning the gold medal at the 2016 South Asian Games in Guwahati, where he equalled the national record, before emerging as the first Indian to win an International Association of Athletics Federations under-20 title with a world record throw of 86.48m in Bydgoszcz, Poland. He was, however, unable to make the cut for the 2016 Rio Olympics as the qualification process had been completed by then.

Chopra won gold at the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships in Bhubaneswar before becoming the first Indian athlete to win the javelin gold at both the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, doing so in 2018 in Australia’s Gold Coast and Jakarta, Indonesia, respectively. At the latter, he set the national record of 88.06m before an elbow injury forced him to miss the entire 2019 season.

After recovering from a potentially career-threatening elbow injury, Chopra has emerged as a strong medal hope for India in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics. While he continues to pursue the 90m mark, the 23-year-old qualified for the Summer Games with an effort of 87.66m in Potchefstroom, South Africa, that put him in second place in the world for 2020.

Chopra recently bettered his own national record with an 88.07m throw at the third Indian Grand Prix in March, where he returned to competition after more than a year due to the Covid-19 shutdown.

The 2021 edition of the Sportstar ACES Awards honoured the Giants of the Decade in Indian sport, with the winners being assessing on their performance and consistency from 2011 to 2020. Eleven awards were presented under the popular choice category, which was open to public voting, along with 14 jury awards as well as special recognition awards under two new categories – Sports for Good and Giants off the Field – that recognise the work of organisations and individuals who have used sports for the betterment of society.

Watch the highlights from Day 1 of the Sportstar Aces Awards here