When Chopra won the gold at Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast, he became the third man to win gold for India in Commonwealth Games athletics after sprinter Milkha Singh in 1958 and discus thrower Vikas Gowda in 2014
Where there is a will, there is a way. This saying perfectly suits India’s young star athlete Neeraj Chopra, who has captured the nation's imagination with his incredible performances.
This Haryana boy, who hails from the land which has given the country boxers and wrestlers, picked up the javelin and learnt the game through Youtube. It was his passion for the sport that made sure that he is the best.
Clinching the gold in the Asian Games is no easy task, more so when the nation is starved of medals at the continent’s multi-sport extravaganza.
The talented Neeraj had raised India’s hopes in javelin throw. And he did not let the country down. He won gold in Jakarta on Monday with a national record of 88.06 metres.
The 20-year-old Chopra's gold is India's only third medal in javelin in Asian Games history after Parsa Singh (silver, 1951) and Gurtej Singh (bronze, 1982).
Chopra made his mark by winning gold at the IAAF World Under-20 Athletics Championships at Bydgoszcz, Poland in 2016, and did so with a world record throw of 86.48 metres.
It was India's first-ever world record and gold medal in any global championship in athletics, a field where the country has alarmingly lacked accolades.
Chopra showcased his brilliance, again in March this year, in the Federation Cup National Senior Athletics Championships in Patiala.
He touched the distance of 85.94 metres in his final attempt and not only did he win the yellow metal, his throw was the second best of his career and the best on the Indian soil.
His haul of medals is impressive to say the least but it was his win at the Commonwealth Games in Australia in April that solidified his hopes of claiming more laurels for the country on international platforms.
When Chopra won the gold at Carrara Stadium at Gold Coast, he became the third man to win gold for India in Commonwealth Games athletics after sprinter Milkha Singh in 1958 and discus thrower Vikas Gowda in 2014.
Chopra also registered his presence at the Doha Diamond League by sending the spear soaring to a distance of 84.67 meters, a new national record.
For Chopra now, the final frontier is the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. He had missed out on the Rio Olympics as he could not achieve the Olympic qualification target of 83 metres before the cut-off date.
But with this Midas touch of his, he hopes to do well. In an earlier conversation with FirstPost, Chopra had said, “We have athletics medal in every event... be it Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, world championships. So the main aim is to win an Olympic medal. I can’t even imagine what that would mean to track-and-field in the country. People keep telling me that the person who wins an Olympic medal will probably become the God of athletics. Athletes like Milkha Singh and PT Usha came fourth in Olympics but everyone knows them. So if coming fourth in Olympics means so much I don’t know what a medal can do.”
Here is to hoping that he manages to keep his winning streak going and an Olympic medal dream is realised in two years time. He is indeed nation’s big hope at Olympics.
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Last Updated Sep 9, 2018, 9:52 AM IST