Athletics at the 2020 Summer Olympics – Men’s Javelin Throw

Athletics at the 2020 Summer Olympics – Men's Javelin Throw

First flight of love: India’s javelin thrower inspires the country

Athletics at the 2020 Summer Olympics – Men’s Javelin Throw

Neeraj Chopra’s ascent from novice javelin thrower to Olympic gold medalist began with a single suggestion rather than any elaborate scheme.

Athletics at the 2020 Summer Olympics – Men's Javelin Throw

Growing up in the north of India, Chopra was described as “pudgy and pampered,” so his uncle eventually took him to a nearby stadium to get some exercise.

There, Chopra first Spotted the Javelin.

Some may argue that it was love at first flight that made him a gold medalist and household name in his country of a billion people.

Starting on Thursday in the qualifying round at the world championships in Eugene, Oregon, Chopra will attempt to add another title to his increasing list of triumphs.

Chopra, 24, told The Associated Press via email, “I keep hearing stories about youngsters wanting to take up athletics and parents also being more open to enabling children to take up sport.” To me, that is the lasting significance of my medal, and for that I am eternally grateful.

Since Chopra won India’s first Olympic gold medal in track and field last year, he has become one of the most searched for athletes online in a country where cricket reigns supreme. The day he won gold in Tokyo, August 7, is celebrated as National Javelin Day in India.

None of it Happened by Chance.

He has always had a passion for throwing. No matter how far away he was, he could always toss a stone near enough to the river to save the family’s animals. While exploring his family’s wheat and rice farm, he enjoyed tossing sticks as far as he could.

It aided in transforming his right arm into a formidable weapon. His first javelin throw was somewhere around 30 metres (98 feet, 5 inches). After two weeks and some guidance, he was swimming 45 metres (147-7).

The ability to throw that far “felt Extremely Wonderful,” he Recalled.

He had just begun his journey. His 87.58-meter javelin was the winning distance in Tokyo (287-4). The streets, shopping centres, airports, and restaurants of India now all recognise him. Everyone is clamouring to acquire Chopra’s autograph or photo.

It’s different from when I was younger and less self-conscious about being seen in public, but Chopra views her newfound fame as a privilege. “The encouragement is what I appreciate the most.”

There’s pressure, too, as one of the most known faces in a country that reveres cricket, soccer, badminton, field hockey and, now, the javelin.

When asked about his approach to competitions, Chopra replied,

“I try to go into every competition with the same purpose, which is to perform my best and attempt to get my best throw.”

“As long as I have been training properly and feeling good about my body, I am confident about my prospects, and that is the mentality I normally adopt heading into any competition, whether it be the Olympics or the world championships.

This strategy has helped me before, and I’m holding out hope that it will do the same for me now.

The Athletics Federation of India (AFI) introduced a kid-friendly javelin in May to get more youngsters involved in the sport in a less risky way. The unveiling was announced by none other than Chopra in a video message.

AFI President Adille J. Sumariwalla said in a statement, “We cannot let go of the increase in interest for athletics among youngsters in India.”

According to him, Chopra is a subedar in the Indian Army, which is one rung above junior commissioned officer. Nothing more particular has been asked of him from the military than to continue throwing.

Specifically, Chopra has yet to find the “perfect” toss.

In May of this year he experienced a setback when he had to have surgery on his elbow to remove broken bone fragments.

That led him to miss the world championships in Doha that season, which made him more eager for current version of worlds in Oregon. Anderson Peters, the champion from Grenada, is expected to pose the greatest threat to him.

Chopra’s Condition is Similar to what it was before he had Elbow Surgery.

His career-long toss was an 89.94 (295-1) in late June. The current record is 98.48 (323-1) and was established in 1996 by Jan Zelezny.

As Chopra put it, “there’s always this feeling that something could have been better” despite all his tournaments and throws. Still, I believe that emotion is necessary for sustaining a growth mindset and the will to improve.

Knowing that he has inspired young people in India to get involved is a bonus.

He explained, “I got my name, Neeraj Chopra, from javelin.”


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