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Davinder Singh Kang becomes first Indian to qualify for javelin throw World Championship

India's Davinder Singh Kang competes in the men's javelin throw qualifying event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London yesterday. Pic/AFP
India's Davinder Singh Kang competes in the men's javelin throw qualifying event at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London yesterday. Pic/AFP

In the absence of a coach, Indian javelin thrower Davinder Singh Kang was forced to take tips from a competitor "friend" from Sri Lanka during his qualification round at the World Championships here.

Kang became the first Indian to qualify for the javelin throw final round in the World Championships here last night, while his more fancied compatriot Neeraj Chopra crashed out in the qualification round after a disappointing show.

Kang, carrying a right shoulder injury, was helped by Sri Lanka's Waruna Rankoth Pedige, who also participated in the same qualification round, and gave the Indian 'tips'. It helped Kang in clearing the automatic qualification mark of 83m in his third and final throw, as he sent the iron spear to a distance of 84.22m in front of a packed crowd at the Olympic Stadium.

No coach
The Indian team has come here without a javelin coach for the three competitors — Kang, Neeraj and woman competitor Annu Rani.

Waruna Rankoth Pedige
Waruna Rankoth Pedige

Asked about the stretching exercise he did with the help of Pedige before his final throw, the 28-year-old from Punjab said, "He is my friend from Sri Lanka. I have competed with him in 8 to 10 international competitions. I told him to give me some stretching of my shoulder. My right shoulder was a bit locked after my second throw. It was not rotating and he gave me some stretching.

"He (the Sri Lankan who finished 31st overall) is a very good friend of mine. He told me that my bodyweight was on the left side in the first two throws, which could be the reason (I was not throwing well). So I tried to keep my bodyweight on the right and had a very good throw in the third attempt, and I qualified. I said 'thank you' to him later," Kang told PTI.

No rest after injury
Talking about his shoulder injury, he said, "It happened when I slipped on the track during the Indian Grand Prix event in May. It is a bit of a problem on and off. I competed in the Asian Championships in Bhubaneswar with a lot of taping. Here also I competed in this qualifying round with a lot of taping and I got some benefit from it.

"I couldn't get rest after this injury in May. I competed in the Federation Cup in June and then told to appear for a trial in Patiala for Asian Championships and then took part in Asian Championships (July 6-9). I took part in the National Inter-State in Guntur (July 16-19) also, where my shoulder was not in a good situation."

Asked how he coped with the injury in his third and final throw last night, he said, "In my first two throws, as I run in I felt at the last moment (before releasing the spear) my bodyweight was towards the left since my right shoulder was locked. What I tried was go straight and locked it in one line so that I can go along one line and throw the other line."

Kang said he would give his best in the final tomorrow. "I will get rest for more than 24 hours before my final round throw, will put some ice treatment and it should be all right. Will try 100 times harder to do something for India. I am feeling good that no Indian has reached the final round of a javelin throw event and I am the only one now. I have to do well for the country in the final round. I will give my best effort and want to win a medal for the country. I don't care whether this shoulder gets damaged in the process."

86m within reach
Kang said a throw of above 86m is not beyond his reach as he had done it during practice. "I have been practicing hard, weight training for the last one year. I have not gone home in this one year. I have thrown over 88m in practice. I have consistently thrown 84m, 85m and 86m during practice."

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