Neeraj Chopra wins India’s first-ever athletics gold in Olympics
Indian javelin star Neeraj Chopra created history on Saturday by becoming the first Indian to win gold medal at the Olympic Games.
Neeraj bagged pole position at Tokyo 2020 with a throw of 87.58 metres in the javelin competition.
Hundreds of people watched the javelin final on a screen outside Chopra’s house in Panipat in the northern state of Haryana, exploding with joy when the Indian was declared the winner.
The Czech Republic filled out the podium at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, Jakub Vadlejch taking silver with 86.67m and Vitezslav Vesely claiming bronze with 85.44m.
Bollywood music boomed out on the stadium tannoy after Chopra had launched his sixth and final throw, in the knowledge he had won gold.
The farmer’s son sprinted the length of the infield, an Indian flag fluttering over his shoulders.
“It feels unbelievable,” Chopra said. “It is the first time India has won a gold in athletics, so I feel very good. We have just one gold here in other sports.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the lad for history effort. He took to Twitter and said, “History has been scripted in Tokyo! What @Neeraj_chopra1 has achieved today will be remembered forever. The young Neeraj has done exceptionally well. He played with remarkable passion and showed unparalleled grit. Congratulations to him for winning the Gold. #Tokyo2020.”
After becoming the second Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics, Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar announced a cash reward of Rs60 million and a government job for Neeraj.
Congratulating Chopra for his triumph, Khattar said he not only won the medal, but also won the heart of the whole country.
“The country was waiting for this moment for a long time and the whole country is proud of him,” he said.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also congratulated Neeraj for his historic feat in Tokyo.
“Gold! Neeraj Chopra… you have created history and made the whole country proud,” the chief minister.
Indian Sports Minister Anurag Thakur also hailed the “golden boy” on Twitter within minutes of the triumph. “India’s Olympic History has been scripted! Your superbly soaring throw deserves a Billion cheers!” he said.
Chopra is second Indian after shooter Abhinav Bindra to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics.
Chopra is not new to winning medals. He has gold medals in javelin throw at the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and now the Olympics.