The cheers of joy are still ringing in all parts of India, even after months of a great feat achieved by a young Indian athlete in the Tokyo Olympics. I’m talking about none other than India’s new sports icon, Neeraj Chopra.
Neeraj Chopra made history on 7th August 2021 by throwing the gold-medal-winning javelin in his second attempt. To recall the prestigious moment, Chopra was very confident about that throw right after the javelin left his hand, he knew that he had achieved something to cherish for his lifetime.
Neeraj Chopra- The Olympic Gold Medalist
The throw had recorded 87.58 meters, with which he beat his competitors quite comfortably. With that win, Chopra became the first ever Indian to win a gold medal in athletics in Olympics.
Satish Kumar and Saroj Devi, a Haryanvi agricultural family, welcomed a baby boy on 24th December 1997. Little did they know that the boy is going to dominate the world in the Olympics. Brought up with two sisters, Chopra had an ordinary childhood.
Neeraj Chopra used to be an Obese child, for which he would be teased a lot in his school. He was enrolled in a local gymnasium by his father to work on his physical wellbeing. Later, Chopra moved to a gym in Panipat, where Jaiveer Choudhary, a javelin thrower, recognized his potential and became Neeraj Chopra’s first coach.
Jaiveer trained Chopra for over a year, after which the 13-year-old Chopra began his journey under coach Naseem Ahmed in Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex in Panchkula.
Chopra’s international journey had begun way before the Tokyo Olympics. He won his first ever international medal at the Youth Olympics in Bangkok in the year 2014, where he won a silver medal for India.
He didn’t yet feel like celebrating though. Not very long after that, Chopra registered a new world record in the junior category by recording 81.04 meters throw in the All-India Inter-University Athletics Meet 2015. It was only a matter of seconds before he was invited to the national training camp.
In the beginning of 2016, Chopra left Panchkula to start his training at the NIS Patiala. The success story of a young college boy making a world record in junior category hadn’t yet settled down, when he came up with yet another record to his name.
In the 2016 South Asian Games, he won a gold medal for India with a 84.23 m. throw, equalling the then national record. Yet another gold medal followed with the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championship in Poland, after which he was honored with an appointment in the Rajputana Rifles as a Junior Commissioned Officer.
Chopra’s love affair with the international gold medals continued with the 2017 Asian Athletics Championship, followed by another gold medal to his name in the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He also set a new world record at the 2018 Asian Games. Recognizing his achievements, the Indian government awarded him with the Arjuna Award in September 2018.
In May 2019 Neeraj chopra underwent an elbow surgery. In November 2019, Chopra travelled to South Africa to train under Klaus Bartoneitz, a German biomechanics expert.
2020, like all of us, was quite uneventful for Chopra. Because of the obvious reason, Covid-19 pandemic. However, Covid didn’t stop Chopra from training for Javelin throw. He spent 2020 at the NIS Patiala, pushing hard to become the best javelin thrower in the world.
Neeraj Chopra inaugurated the 2021 international season by winning a gold medal at an event in Lisbon, Portugal. And then, came the Tokyo Olympics, and the rest is history. When asked about his victory, Neeraj dedicated this feat to the late athlete Milkha Singh.
Chopra is undoubtedly one of the most influential sports personalities in India, inspiring the younger generation to do their best in whatever they do in their life.