Neeraj Chopra: History Maker

On the 7th August 2021, 17:38 pm IST, history was created at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo. After a long 13 years, Indian finally won another gold medal at the Olympic Games. Subedar Neeraj Chopra VSM had just won the gold medal in the men javelin’s throw and etched himself into Indian sports history. Neeraj Chopra’s gold medal is India’s first athletic track field medal. Apart from that, Neeraj is only the second Indian to win a gold medal after Abhinav Bindra’s historic performance at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Neeraj Chopra was born on the 23rd of December 1997 in Panipat, Haryana. In 2016, he enlisted in the Indian National Army. He currently holds the post of a Junior Commissioned Officer and has the rank of a Naik Subedar. He has been awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal by the Indian Army. He is a Track and Field athlete and specializes in javelin throw.

Neeraj Chopra started participating in javelin throw competitively since 2016 He has put on consistent performances. Apart from that, he also has 2 world records to his name. He competed in the 2016 IAAF World U20 Championships (the Junior World Championships) and on the 23rd of July 2016 won the gold medal. He also set a world record on that day for the longest throw (86.48 meters). The record still stands and has not been broken yet. In the same year, he won the South Asian Games. His throw of 82.23 meters equaled the national record of that time. In 2017, he won another gold medal at the Asian Athletics Championship. His winning throw was 85.23 meters.

The 2018 Glasgow Commonwealth Games were his first Commonwealth Games, where he ended up winning the gold medal. With this gold medal win in his debut appearance, he not only became to first Indian athlete to win in the javelin throw category at the Commonwealth Games, but also became one of the very few Indian athletes to win a gold medal in their first Commonwealth Games appearance. For this outstanding performance here, he was awarded with the Arjuna Award. He broke the previous national record and set a new one while competing in the Doha Diamond League with a throw of 87.43 meters.

The 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games were his first time competing at the Asian Games. He was selected as the flag-bearer for these games on account of his brilliant performance that year, especially his 2018 Commonwealth Games success. He won India her first gold medal in the javelin throw category in the Asian Games and also broke the national record he himself had set with a winning throw of 88.06 meters. In March 2021 at the Indian Grand Prix, he again broke his record with a marginally higher 88.07 meters.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were Neeraj Chopra’s first ever Olympic Games. He won the gold medal in the finals held on the 7th of August with a winning throw of 87.58 meters and created history. He is the second Indian athlete to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics and the first Indian athlete to win an Olympic gold medal in the discipline of athletics.

Subedar Neeraj Chopra VSM with his Tokyo 2020 Gold Olympic medal
Subedar Neeraj Chopra VSM with his Tokyo 2020 Gold Olympic medal