The much-anticipated men's javelin throw event at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, was marred by controversy in measuring the distance, leaving India's ace athlete Neeraj Chopra high and dry.
The Olympic champion seemed to have guaranteed a podium finish if not a gold medal straightaway with his first throw, letting out his trademark roar and pointing to the sky. But, to everyone's surprise, before the officials declared Chopra's distance, Kuwait's Abdulrahman Alazemi threw the javelin.
The event was halted as the officials conferred with each other. After a lengthy discussion, they finally disallowed Chopra's first throw and asked him to go again, much to his dismay.
Indian ace makes brilliant comeback, Jena joins party
Setting aside the disappointment, Chopra threw 82.38m to lead the field. Kishore Kumar Jena came in second, with a throw of 81.26m. In fact, Jena, too, was at the receiving end of some ordinary officiating, as his second throw was called foul though it looked fine to the naked eye. The decision was reversed after India contested the call, and the distance was marked as 79.76m.
Though Chopra could not match his 'first' throw, he extended his lead at the top with a throw of 84.49m in his second attempt.
But Jena did the unthinkable in his third attempt, overtaking Chopra with a breathtaking throw of 86.77m.
Eventually, Neeraj Chopra reclaimed the pole position with a throw of 88.88. This helped him win the Asian Games gold, while the 86.77m throw helped Jena to bag the silver medal.