From the ongoing Tokyo Olympics in Japan, there is continuous good news from weightlifting, then boxing, badminton, hockey and now javelin throw. India’s Neeraj Chopra finished first in the qualification round of javelin throw at the Tokyo Olympics. He reached the final on 7 August with a throw of 86.65m in his first attempt. In such a situation, now the eyes and hopes of crores of Indians are fixed on the best Javelin Thrower Neeraj Chopra.
This is Neeraj’s first Olympics and the medal hopes from him in the very first Olympics are manifold. The reason for this is the record of the Rio Olympics. If we look at that match, Germany’s Thomas Rohler won the gold with a throw of 90.30m, Julius Yego of Kenya won the silver with a throw of 88.24m and Trinidad and Tobago’s Keshoran Walcott took the bronze with a throw of 85.38m. At the same time, the current record throw of Neeraj Chopra is 88.07 meters. If he maintains this record also, then another medal may come in India’s possession from the Tokyo Olympics. Neeraj, as amazing a player as he is and the number of successes he has got, there has been as much struggle in his life.
job in army
Neeraj Chopra grew up in a small village in the Panipat district of Haryana. He had never even seen a javelin or javelin in his childhood, let alone becoming a world champion. Then Neeraj did not even dream that one day he would throw javelin for India and win gold medals for crores of Indians.
But in 2016, when an 18-year-old youngster won a medal at the IAAF World Championships (Under 20) in Poland, there was a wave of happiness in the country. Neeraj not only won the victory by throwing 86.48 meters that day, he also wrote a new chapter in his life. After that victory, Neeraj’s life changed completely. In his second attempt, he threw 86.48m, winning India’s first gold medal in a world-class competition and also set a world record.
After this victory, he was commissioned into the Army as a Junior Commissioned Officer. After getting the job, Neeraj said in an interview, “My father is a farmer and mother is a housewife. I live in a joint family. There is no government job in my family, so everyone is very happy for me. Now I can continue my training as well as help my family financially.”
“No no, everything is fine”
Neeraj Chopra is the second Indian athlete, after Anju Bobby George, to win a gold medal in a world-class athletics championship. It is very easy for us to just say it to you, but in reality it takes complete dedication and hard work to achieve this kind of success and milestones.
However, whenever Neeraj talks about his journey, he tries to edit the struggles of life a bit. He believes that your focus should always be on the positive aspects. Maybe that’s why, whenever he is asked about the difficulties in his journey, he politely says, “No, everything was great.”
23 July 2016, Javelin Throw Final
In that match, on the qualifying day, Neeraj threw 78.20m in his first attempt to make the cut for the final. However, Niraj, who is usually calm, felt a surge of adrenaline in his body when Zdzisaw Krzyszkowiak went to the stadium for the final. This had never happened to him before.
Sharing his experience of that match in an interview to The Indian Express, Neeraj said, “That day itself was different. That day, I was feeling pretty good even during my warm-up. However, even after putting all your life in the first attempt, the result was not good. But when in the second throw, the spear left my hand, I thought this throw was different. When my spear was in the air and when it landed below, the noise was different. I could feel the force while throwing the javelin. I knew it was the best throw of my life.”
World U20 record!
Watch the 86.48 throw of Neeraj Chopra pic.twitter.com/BXtCKxR0rT
— World Athletics (@WorldAthletics) July 24, 2016
For example, an experienced batsman knows where the ball is going as soon as the ball makes contact with the bat. Exactly the same happened with Neeraj. That throw from his second attempt hit the most accurate part, just in time. That one throw, apart from medals and accolades, gave Neeraj a chance to finally dream big.
Never took training to handle fame
Neeraj said, “After the throw, I was eagerly waiting for the distance to be shown on the big screen. When the distance, 86.48 meters was shown on the screen, I could not believe it for a while. In front of me, was the fruit of my years of hard work, training and sacrifice. It was then that I realized that I was made for something big and I was convinced that I could one day win a medal in the biggest sporting event, the Olympics.”
As soon as the news of Neeraj’s medal in Poland reached India, his phone did not stop ringing. Neeraj was not even taught during any training how to handle the popularity gained overnight.
In that interview, he told, “At that time, I did not use Instagram or Twitter. I was only on Facebook and my friends were sending me screenshots of greetings from famous people on social media. I was very happy to receive such applause. But to be honest, I wasn’t ready for it at all. With so much focus suddenly on me, I was feeling a little uneasy. I didn’t even know how to respond to those countless messages on my phone. So I thought it would be best to turn it off completely.”
when a shoulder injury
After this the time of the year 2019 came. It has been a very difficult year for Neeraj. During this time he was battling a shoulder injury and was fit to play back, so all the competitions were canceled one by one due to Corona. But when, after a long time, he took part in the Indian Grand Prix-3 in Patiala, making a comeback, he broke his own record with a throw of 88.07m, setting a new national record.
If the eyes are on the target, then victory comes automatically.
Neeraj’s style and thinking are completely different from other players. He says, “Everybody, all the time, thinks about winning a medal. But when I’m competing, my aim is to just throw right. Once I do that, I take everything as a bonus, even the medals.”
He started playing only to lose weight. Then there was no thought in his mind to win medals and participate in sports at a big level. At the age of 12, he weighed 90 kg, which was quite high for his age. Well, this thing is very old now. The 23-year-old, currently a gold medalist, aims to throw up to 90 metres.
The Better India We wish the bright future of this promising player of India. We sincerely hope that this story of his will inspire the young players of the country.
Editing – G N Jha
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