Davinder Kang becomes first Indian to qualify for javelin throw finals

Davinder Singh Kang has become the first Indian to qualify for the final round of the javelin throw World Championships while his more fancied compatriot Neeraj Chopra crashed out in the qualification round. Competing in the qualification round Group B on 10 August 2017, Kang, who was carrying a shoulder injury, cleared the automatic qualification mark of 83m in his third and final throw as he sent the iron spear to a distance of 84.22m. He had covered 82.22m in his opening throw and then came up with 82.14m in his second.

The 26-year-old athlete from Punjab was under pressure to touch the 83m in his final attempt and he was the last man to take the throw. He did it in style by sending the spear beyond the qualification mark to the huge relief of the Indian camp. Thirteen throwers five from Group A and seven from Group B crossed the automatic qualification mark of 83m and all of them will compete in the final round on August 12.

Kang’s best effort of 84.22m put him in the seventh position among the final round qualifiers. His final round qualification was all the more noteworthy as he was carrying an injury since the Indian Grand Prix in New Delhi in May. He competed yesterday with his right shoulder strapped. Kang was tested positive for marijuana in June but was named in the 25-member Indian team as the banned substance was in the specified list of the WADA Code and does not attract automatic suspension.

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.

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