Neeraj Chopra participated in the javelin throw at the Olympics as an Indian track-and-field specialist. India will never forget August 7, 2021 the day the debutantes 87.58 m throw made every Indian proud. A Junior Commissioned Officer Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian track-and-field sportsman to win a gold medal in the Olympics when he won the medal in Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Chopra set a world specified in the contract standard of 86.48 meters throughout the 2016 Asian Games U20 Championship games. He competed for both the European Championships and the 2018 Champions League, serving as the standard-bearer in the latter and winning gold medals in both of them.
He is one of the very two Indians to have won an individual Olympic medal (the other one being Abhinav Bindra), and the youngest-ever Indian gold medallist in such an individual event to ever have won gold during his Olympic premiere.
Background and Early Career
Chopra’s father registered him in the gym in Madlauda when local youngsters taunted him regarding his weight; he subsequently later enrolled in a fitness center in Panipat. He reportedly went to the neighboring Panipat Sports Authority of Indian center, where Jaiveer Choudhary, the javelin thrower, discovered his potential. Choudhary recruited Chopra’s first instructor after witnessing him throwing 40 meters without conditioning and being impressed by his determination. After a year of training with Choudhary, when Chopra was 13, he joined Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex, four hours away from his home. The sports facility was one of the two synthetic running tracks in Haryana at the time.
The journey from 2017 to 2021
Chopra also earned a gold in the 2017 Asian Summer Olympics in Odisha. With a throw of 85.23 meters, Chopra won the gold medal at the 2017 Asian Olympics. He set a season-best performance of 86.47 meters inside the men’s javelin throw category at the Commonwealth Games and became the first Indian ever to win an individual javelin throw medal at the Commonwealth Games. With a throw of 87.43 meters in the Doha Diamond League in May 2018, he surpassed the national record for the second time.
Chopra made his Asian Championship debut in August 2018, representing India and serving as the flag-bearer for the Indian contingent during the World League Parade of Nations.
Challenges before Olympics
Due to an elbow injury Neeraj Chopra received surgery in Mumbai in May 2019, just a day after the qualifying rounds for Tokyo 2020 Olympics began. Chopra headed to South Africa around November 2019 training alongside German biomechanical specialist Klaus Bartoneitz after such a time of rehabilitation that included meditation as well as rehabilitative therapy at Patiala and even the IIS Vijayanagar.
Chopra’s visa application for Sweden was rejected and training was denied because of the epidemic. After the involvement of the Ministry of Youth And Sports, Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and weeks of trying to get a visa, something he characterized as difficult, Chopra received approval to head to Europe along with his coach.
Neeraj made his Olympic debut, representing India at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo’s National Stadium. He was assigned to Group A on August 4, 2021. Chopra topped his group and qualified for the final with a throw of 86.65 metres, despite the effects of jet lag since travelling to Tokyo from Sweden on July 26 and an interrupted sleep routine due to continuous dope-control test. Chopra won the gold medal in the final on 7 August with a throw of 87.58 metres on his second try, making him the first Indian Olympian to win a gold medal in athletics and the first Indian Olympic medalist in athletics after independence.
Chopra’s win gave India a total of seven medals at the Olympics, surpassing India’s previous best performance of six medals at the 2012 London Olympics. He became the second-ranked athlete in the world in the men’s javelin throw as a result of his performance in Tokyo, according to the World Athletics rankings for the discipline.
Defeating great athletes like Germany’s Johannes Vetter, India’s golden boy was successful in making his name and leaving his mark during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.