Becomes independent India’s first medal winner in athletics at Olympic games
Raghav Kapoor | TNR
With a monstrous throw of 87.58 metres in his 2nd attempt, Neeraj Chopra became the first-ever Indian to win a gold medal in any track and field event since the beginning of the Olympic games in 1896.
13-year long drought for gold ends
August 7 will be imprinted in the minds of all Indians as Chopra ended India’s 13 year-long drought for a gold medal at the Olympics and wrestler Bajrang Punia also managed to win his bronze medal match helping India finish with their best ever medal tally consisting of 1 gold, 2 silvers and 4 bronze.
Neeraj no stranger to podium finishes
Coming back to the 23-year-old ‘golden boy’ from Khandra village in Haryana Panipat district, Chopra is no stranger to podium finishes as he was also the first Indian to win a javelin gold in Asian Games and Commonwealth Games. Going into the biggest sporting event he was one of India’s biggest hopes for a medal, and he has lived up to more than what was expected from him.
Earlier German javelin thrower was prime contender
Germany’s Johannes Vetter (world no. 1) was being considered to be the prime contender for the gold medal as he was in the form of his life and the only man in the world to have thrown beyond the 90m mark in the past 24 months. However, Johannes recorded only 1 legal throw in the finals, 82.52m and finished 9th overall, not even making it to the final 8.
Gold medal dedicated to Milkha Singh
On being asked how much his Olympic gold medal weighed, Neeraj replied. “Even if it weighed 10 kg, it would feel light to me. I am feeling very good!” “I did feel like I’d do something unique. I felt good today,” The ace javelin thrower dedicated his gold to legendary Milkha Singh, who passed away in June this year.
“Milkha Singh wanted to hear the national anthem in a stadium. He is no longer with us but his dream has been fulfilled,” he said.
Shower of rewards
Wishes are being poured in from all over the country and many rewards have also been announced for this achievement which is being considered as a turning point in Indian sports.
Haryana government has announced a Rs 6-crore cash reward for Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra and a class I category state government job. Punjab government has announced a cash reward of Rs 2 crore, while the Manipur government, BCCI and CSK will extend a reward of Rs 1 crore each to Neeraj.
The Indian Olympic Association will reward Neeraj with Rs 75 lakh. Anand Mahindra also announced a XUV 700 for the golden boy.