In a moment of personal and national pride, star athlete Neeraj Chopra has finalized his place in the men's javelin throw final at the Tokyo Olympics. His javelin landed an impressive distance of 86.65 meters, qualifying distance exceeding 83.50 meters.
Neeraj's journey as a track star also covered a similar distance. As a child, the son of this farmer from Khandra village in Panipat did not expect to make history at the Tokyo playground. Neeraj comes from a simple family of 16 people who live on regular jobs and agriculture. Often having training and tools means digging the family’s pockets, they are shallow. But it never stopped Chopra because her family was a constant support system.
Interestingly, he made his sports debut to lose a few extra kilos from his body. This is a boy who hates physical activity. Fun lifestyle means young Neeraj lifts 90kg at the age of 12 and asks his family to go to the gym and achieve basic level of fitness.
The forced morning jog session at Shivaji Stadium was fruitful when he got a chance with javelin thrower Jai Chowdhury. Creating history begins here.
In an interview with India Times, Jai recalled, "One evening at the stadium, he was told to throw a javelin. It traveled 35-40 meters, which was very impressive the first time. His favorite was his way. He threw it. Neeraj was overweight in those days, but his body was very flexible. Would have been. "
A few years later, Niraj broke the world record at the 2016 World U20 Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. "goal is to qualify for the Olympics, but he did not. His second goal is to win the World Under - 20 Championships," he told the Economic Times.
In 2021, he broke his own national record of 88.07 meters in the Indian Grand Prix 3 at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala.
Chopra also won gold medals at the Asian Athletics Championships, the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the 2018 Asian Games.
The level of accuracy of the local Haryana player at the Global Sports Arena may seem inaccessible to most. But while talking to The Indian Express, Neeraj shared that it inspired him. "Everyone always thinks about winning a medal. But when I compete, my goal is to throw almost perfectly. Once I've done it, I take everything, even the medals, as a bonus."
Problems behind a good sports career
On his way to the sports stadium, he trained under Australian coach Gary Calvert at the Olympic Training Center as a beneficiary of the JSW Sports Excellence Program. This humble javelin thrower owes much to this support system for his success, despite the players defying inequalities to reach the top. "Gary Sir is a great source of knowledge and help. JSW has been an amazing support and my parents have always supported me to be the best at whatever I do."
Today, Chopra is looking forward to creating history as well as making his dreams come true. There is nothing stopping the collected approach to meet every challenge to take a step forward towards your goal. Speaking to First Post, he said, "I'm in my first Olympic Games, I feel great. During practice, my performance was not so great, but then (in the qualifying round) my first throw was good. There was angle, and it's the right throw."