India has been caught up in a wave of excitement following Neeraj Chopra’s gold medal win in the men’s javelin at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. Chopra’s historic victory on Saturday night gives India its best-ever Olympic medal haul of seven, capping a rebirth of national pride in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed over 427,000 Indians. After decades in the doldrums, India was already on a high following a great performance by the men’s and women’s hockey teams. However, Chopra’s triumph in the javelin with a throw of 87.58m was unprecedented among his 1.38 billion compatriots.
“It feels incredible,” he added. “This is our first Olympic medal in a long time, and it is the first time we have gold in athletics, so it is a wonderful moment for myself and my country.” Millions of Indians will remember where they were on the day Chopra won for the rest of their lives. There was barely a home where families were not gathered to see the moment when a nation fascinated with gold in all of its forms — jewellery, bars, coins – could finally exult at winning a gold medal. “I subsequently went out to dinner, and the restaurant owner gave everyone free drinks to celebrate the triumph. “He claimed he had given up hope of ever hearing the Indian national song sung at the games,” added the shopkeeper.
The tone was set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s enthusiastic congratulatory tweet. Modi tweeted after chatting with the new golden child of Indian sport that Chopra “personifies the finest of sporting skill and sportsman character.” Ecstatic scenes erupted in the army officer’s home town of Khandra, Haryana. Farmers and their sons danced in the streets to loud drumming after witnessing the guy who had been ridiculed as a youngster for his weight (he weighed 80kg at 13) so he had to go to the gym, making the nation proud. ‘I continued saying a prayer all the time. Saroj, his mother, said, “It was the only way I could relax myself.” after the media stormed the village, he informed reporters Satish, his father, a farmer who appeared overwhelmed and unable to handle all the continuously ringing phones in the house, just stated, “I don’t have the words to describe this delight.”
‘Athletics, gold, and India.’ “Those three terms have never been used together,” one publication said. Other journalists waxed poetic about Chopra’s javelin, describing how it “soared, picked out by the blaze of lights at the Olympic stadium, into the warm and humid night, and plunged itself directly into the pages of history.” ‘We are so accustomed to coming ‘close,’ to ‘just missing it,’ or ‘missing it by a hair,’ that I felt it would never happen in my lifetime. “Chopra has made up for all of our previous blunders,” a young guy in Khandra told reporters. India’s only prior athletics medals occurred in 1900, when Norman Pritchard, the son of a British colonial family, won two silver medals in the 200m and 200m hurdles. Despite a record amount of gold medals for hockey teams, the country’s only prior individual gold medal was earned by shooter Abhinav Bindra in 2012. Cricket is India’s most popular sport, and all of the country’s powerbrokers were watching Chopra’s victory. The Indian Board of Control for Cricket announced a monetary prize for Olympic medalists. Military commanders also spoke up. Chopra, a young officer in the Indian army with the Rajputana Rifles, made his international debut in 2016 with a global junior title. He became the first Indian athlete to win the javelin at both the Asian and Commonwealth Games two years later.
On Sunday, preparations were on to greet Chopra when he returns. The road entering the village will very certainly need to be expanded to accommodate all of the media cars and VIPs that will be arriving.
Wrestler Bajrang Punia, who won bronze in the men’s freestyle wrestling 65kg final on Saturday, was also congratulated.
It comes after the men’s hockey team won a bronze medal after defeating Germany in the third-place playoff on Thursday. It was India’s first medal in hockey since 1980, and it was complimented by the women’s team, which fought hard in the bronze medal match against Great Britain.
He went to his coaches and extended his arms to celebrate the moment he released the javelin, certain that it would at least be his personal best. But Chopra was mistaken. It wasn’t his finest performance. The throw, which covered 87.58 metres, earned him Olympic gold.
For the past 100 years, Indian sports has only been about stories of near-misses, broken aspirations, and heartache. When the moment arrived — at 9.07 p.m. on a humid night at Tokyo’s National Stadium – the sport hit gold.
Tokyo 2020 will be remembered as the country’s most successful campaign, with seven medals – one gold, two silver, and four bronze
The glimmer of the javelin gold, India’s first since Bindra became an Olympic champion in 2008 in Beijing, will last a long time.
Chopra didn’t simply take the top spot on the podium on Saturday night. He accomplished it with such ease and domination that it was surprisingly Indian, especially in a sport where Indian athletes have always failed.
In a way, it was poetic that on the same morning that Chopra earned the coveted gold, an Indian athlete fell agonisingly short of a podium finish in golf. Aditi Ashok shown great fortitude and determination to finish fourth, entering the sorrow club that includes some of the country’s most renowned athletes.