Neeraj Chopra questioned the track and field officiating at the Asian Games 2023 after he was asked to re-attempt his first throw during the javelin throw final on Wednesday.
“They didn’t measure it properly. The next athlete threw quickly after me and then they lost the mark. For a while they kept searching for the point of landing. I went and asked the officials what happened. I knew it was a good throw. I don’t know exactly how far it went but it felt good. Because they couldn’t figure out the mark, they offered to let me do the first throw again.
“The more we delayed, it was ruining the competition for other athletes also. Because there was wind and everyone was getting cold. This is the first time I am seeing something like this. The rule is six but I threw seven,” Chopra said after the event.
Shortly after, Kishore Kumar Jena was wrongly flagged for an illegal attempt for going beyond the permitted run-up space. Upon protest, the attempt was deemed fair and the distance counted.
This was the second instance where Indian athletes faced a delay in their competition. Earlier in the event, Jyothi Yarraji was wrongly disqualified for a false start in the women’s 100m hurdles race.
“Happened with Jyothi too. And with me and Jena too. Gadbad toh hai. (This is wrong). But our results spoke for themselves. Despite everything, our hard work paid off. Our team should definitely look into why so many things have gone wrong. I haven’t seen this in big competitions because, after a disruption to the first throw, it could have thrown me off balance. We saw how Jyothi had to fight,” he added.
HIGHLIGHTS | Men’s Javelin Throw Final Asian Games
Despite the early hiccup, Chopra and Jena kept their calm to set off a tug off between them for the gold-medal spot. With his third attempt of 86.77 metres, Jena overtook the World champion.
Chopra, however, reclaimed the spot on the fourth asking, clearing a distance of 88.88 metres. “I felt really good when he went ahead of me. I hugged him too. But we also have to push for ourselves when we’re out there on the field. So I was happy for him but I kept thinking I have to improve too. Coming in, I felt good about my throws, but Jena’s two throws were really good.”
Chopra’s gold-clinching attempt of 88.88 metres was also his season best, while Jena got his personal best at 87.54 metres.
“I got my season best by 1 centimetre. Right from the start, I thought I would throw good, but I am happier for (Kishore) Jena today. Maza aa gaya (I enjoyed it),” said Chopra.