Written by Jiya Rajput, a grade 10 student of Sumermal Jain Public School.
Neeraj Chopra – winner of an Olympic gold medal in men’s javelin throw – has made India proud once again. He has just won a silver medal at the World Athletics Championship held in the United States.
We look at some of his achievements..
- Won gold at the Tokyo Olympics, on 7th August 2021 with a throw of 87.58metres in his second attempt.
- On 14 June 2022, he again created a new national record of 89.30metres at the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland.
- On 30th June 2022, he broke his own national record of 89.30 metres and accomplished 89.94 metres at the Stockholm Diamond League, 2022 in Sweden
- On 23rd July 2022, Chopra won a silver medal in the 2022 World Athletics Championship with a throw of 88.13 m making him the second Indian to win a medal at the World Athletics Championship.
- He is the first athlete from Asia to win an Olympic gold medal in the men’s javelin throw.
- In 2018, he was conferred with the Arjuna Award and the Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) in 2020 for his sporting excellence.
- Received the Khel Ratna Award, also known as the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, for his performance at the Olympics – this is India’s highest sporting honour.
About Neeraj Chopra
He belongs to a humble family from Kandhra village of the Panipat district in the state of Haryana. His parents are farmers.
Chopra is in the Indian Army and holds the rank of a subedar.
He has accomplished a lot at a young age and has brought honour to India with each of his wins.
Wins and career
He started his athletic career by entering his first international competition, The World Youth Championships, Ukraine. In addition to a silver at the Youth Olympics Qualification in Bangkok in 2015, he won his first international medal in 2014 there.
Chopra broke the previous world record in the junior category, throwing 81.04 metres in the 2015 All India Inter-University Athletics meet; this was his first throw of over 80 metres.
The year 2016 was also a victorious one for him – after crossing the 80 metres mark at the tail end of 2015 and winning the South Asian Games in Guwahati in February 2016 with a throw of 82.23 metres.
He is the first track and field athlete from India to win at the IAAF World U-20 Championships where he competed in 2016 and established a world U-20 record 86.48 metres, becoming the first Indian athlete to do so. His Australian coach, Gary Calvert said, “Neeraj Chopra is a natural when it comes to javelin”. He won numerous gold medals back-to-back in the Asian championship in Bhubaneswar, India (2017) and Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia (2017). He won a silver medal in Asian Grand Prix Series in Jinhua, China (2017) and Asian Grand Prix Series in Jiaxing, China (2017).
As of 2021, Chopra is one of only two Indians to have won an individual Olympic gold medal as well as the youngest Indian Olympic gold medallist in an individual event – and the only one to have won gold in his debut.
How did he decide on the javelin?
Chopra says that he was a pampered child and did not initially have any interest in sports. One day his uncle suggested that he should go to a stadium near his house and get some exercise.
And this is where he first saw the javelin. Chopra had always loved to throw- he used to get the family’s cattle out of the water by throwing stones near them. And he could do this from any distance. He also loved throwing sticks as far as he could while walking around his family’s farm fields.
All that throwing came of good use when he started learning to throw the javelin!
People who know him say that Neeraj is a grateful and humble man. He respects his fans and always thanks them for their support. Even after all his celebrated victories, Neeraj Chopra still talks about living a simple life with his family and friends. He has become India’s pride ever since he won his first International Medal in 2014 and every supporter of his is looking forward for him to rise to greater heights.
More accolades: Neeraj Chopra achieved yet another historic feat on September 8 2022, as he became the first Indian to win the prestigious Diamond League Finals title.
The Diamond League Finals can be considered the most prestigious competition outside of the Olympics and World Championships. The 24-year-old Indian superstar is now the Olympic champion, World Championships silver medallist and Diamond League champion. All these he has achieved in just 13 months. He won the Olympic gold on August 7 last year in Tokyo.
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