London, August 11: Davinder Singh Kang, the 26-year-old athlete from Punjab has become the first Indian to qualify for the final round of the javelin throw at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London on Thursday.
Davinder Singh Kang registered a throw of 84.22m to become the first ever Indian to qualify for the final of a javelin throw event. Competing in the qualification round Group B, Kang cleared the automatic qualification mark of 83 meter in his third and final throw as he sent the iron spear to a distance of 84.22 meter. He had an 82.22m in his opening throw and then came up with 82.14m in his second.
Davinder was under pressure to touch the 83 m in his final attempt and he was the last man to take the throw. However, Kang did it in style as his best effort of 84.22m directly put him in the seventh position among the final round qualifiers.
"Once I came to know that Neeraj did not qualify (for the final round), I wanted to qualify for it. I wanted to do something for the country, I wanted to do something which no Indian has done before. By the grace of God, I did something for the country," Kang said after his race.
"I have been carrying a right shoulder injury which I sustained in May during the Indian Grand Prix but it is not that big a problem. Our team masseur put these straps today and I am OK. But I had to ask my friend Sri Lankan competitor (Waruna Rankoth Pedige) to do some stretching before my third and final throw," he said showing his right shoulder injury. "It will be all right after tomorrow's rest. I want to give my best in the final round on August 12 and win a medal for the country," he added.
On the other side, another Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra could not succeed as he crashed out in the qualification round. In Group A qualification round, Neeraj failed to make an impact as he crashed out of the World Championships after a disappointing performance. Carrying the hopes of the entire country on his young shoulders, Neeraj could not hurl the iron spear to the automatic final round qualification mark of 83m in his three attempts with his best effort of 82.26m coming in his opening throw.
The 19-year-old world junior record holder then fouled his second attempt before clearing only 80.54m in his third and final throw to finish seventh in his group and overall 15th at the Olympic Stadium here. For Neeraj, who has a personal best of 86.48m and season's best of 85.63m, his maiden World Championships ended with just three throws.
Interestingly, no other Indian has ever qualified in the men's javelin throw final round in any world championship except Davinder Singh Kang.