World Athletics: Davinder Kang qualifies for final, creates history

Image credit: The Times of India

Athlete Davinder Singh Kang created history as he became the first Indian to qualify for the final round of the javelin throw at the IAAF World Athletics Championships in London.

No Indian had ever qualified for the final in javelin throw in any World Championships before Davinder’s feat.

Kang, who was carrying a shoulder injury cleared the automatic qualification mark of 83m in his final throw, sending his iron spear to a long distance of 84.22m.

The 27-year-old from Punjab earlier had covered 82.22m in his first throw and 82.14m in his second throw. With just one attempt at hand, Kang made the most of it to finish in the seventh position among the final round qualifiers.

Eariler in the day, fellow Indian Neeraj Chopra crashed out of the World Championships after failing to cross the 83m qualification mark in three attempts.

“Once I came to know that Neeraj did not qualify, 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, ” an ecstatic Kang said after making it to the final.

Talking about the straps on his right shoulder, Kang said, “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 okay.”

“It (the injury) 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 further added.

Neeraj, who was fancied by many to make it to the final, failed to live up to the expectations.

During the group A qualification round, Chopra hurled three iron spears, none of which could clear the 83m qualification mark. His best attempt was of 82.26m which came in his first throw. He fouled his second throw before managing a cross low 80.54m in his third and final throw to finish 15th among all the participants and make an exit from the tournament.

The 19-year-old whose personal best of 86.48m is a junior world record, could not make a impact and leaves the Championships only after three throws. “I tried my best but I could not clear the automatic qualification mark of 83m and I am disappointed. I gave a lot of effort in the first throw but it missed the the 83m mark by a few centimetres. There were some problems in the second throw and the third one also did not go the distance. I have been training hard for this World Championships but I could not do well in the actual competition,” said a disappointed Chopra.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Johannes Vetter topped the qualifying rounds. His herculean effort of 91.20m broke the 16 year old record of Jan Zelezny who had recorded a distance of 90.76m in 2001.

All the hopes will now definitely shift towards the bronze medallist of the Asian Athletic Championships as Kang aims to become the first Indian Javelin thrower to clinch a medal at the World Athletics Championships.

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