The javelin throw is a game that was considered to be a part of our ancient India a long time ago. But after the ancient and medieval warriors, it is now the youth of India who is representing India in the Global stage of sports and shining brightly as they win and place India at the top. Neeraj Chopra is such a young and valiant athlete who bought the first gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics and the 2nd after Abhinav Bindra in the Olympics for our country. But do you know that there is a story behind this famed athlete and a diamond is only a piece of coal before it gets polished? There was also a lot of processes called training in polishing this diamond whom we call our Javelin Champion.
Neeraj Chopra was born to Satish Kumar and Saroj Devi on 24 December 1997, in Chandra village, Panipat district, Haryana a family of farmers was bullied as a child due to his obesity by the children of his neighbourhood. So, his father decided to enrol him into a gymnasium at Madlauda; he was later enrolled in a gym in Panipat. While there, he also visited the nearby Panipat Sports Authority of India centre, where javelin thrower Jaiveer Choudhary recognized his early talent, Choudhary decided to train him under his guidance.
After a year the 13-year-old Chopra was admitted to the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex in Panchkula, four hours from his home. The sports complex was then one of only two facilities in the state of Haryana with a synthetic runway. There, he trained under coach Naseem Ahmad, who made him train in long-distance running along with the javelin throw. He Initially practised the range of throw till 55 meters, The very first competition Chopra won was the 2012 junior nationals in Lucknow by achieving a new national record throw of 68.40 metres.
And in the very next year, he got into the international stage through the World Youth Championships in Ukraine. He got his first international recognition as a champion in Bangkok after winning a silver at the Youth Olympics Qualification. Chopra returned to the national-level training camp in 2015 leaving Panchkula to get trained at the National Institute of Sports in Patiala. He won a gold medal at the 2016 South Asian Games with a throw of 84.23 m, where he equalled the Indian national record.
He won numerous accolades throughout this time. He was able to qualify for the 2020 Olympics but due to an Elbow Injury, he was unable to compete that year. On 4 August 2021, he was placed in Group A. Despite the effects of jet lag after flying to Tokyo from Sweden and a disrupted sleep schedule due to regular dope-control testing, Chopra topped his group and qualified for the final in the men’s javelin throw with a throw of 86.65 metres.
This was the time when he made his debut in the Olympics after qualifying. With better-performing athletes, notably Johannes Vetter of Germany, Chopra created a strategy that was to rely on his speed and put pressure on the rest of the field with a powerful long throw. As a result, Chopra won the gold medal in the final on 7 August with a throw of 87.58 m and became the first Indian Olympian to win a gold medal in athletics, and the first post-independence Indian Olympic medalist in athletics.
This win is called a historic win in the history of India’s Olympic win because of the performance of this year’s athletes but Neerj’s performance is hailed the most due to winning the medal in his first trial.