Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra is elated that there has been a surge in interest towards javelin throw at the grassroots level in India ever since he won the country’s first medal in track and field at the showpiece event.
Taking to Twitter, Neeraj wrote: “Aise news padh ke apne medal jeetne ki khushi aur bhi zyada ho jati hai [By reading such news, the happiness of getting medal increases] Thank you.”
The Olympic champion was replying after reading an article published by a website where it was written how more people are getting into the sport after Neeraj’s historic gold.
Former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia, who has been a part of the National Sports Committee, on Tuesday said Neeraj deserves the Khel Ratna Award this year. Neeraj had won the gold medal after throwing the javelin for a distance of 87.58m.
“This time the committee will have to face a challenge because there are many players who are deserving for awards, not this time, every time the election committee faces challenges. But this time task will be harder as we have a lot of medallists and in my opinion, the Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award will go to Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Neeraj Chopra as he brought India its first gold in track and field events at the Olympics,” Bhutia had told.
Athletics Federation of India has also tried to give the sport of javelin an extra push as the association earlier announced that each state unit will hold an annual javelin competition every August 7, the day Neeraj won India’s first-ever track and field gold at the Olympics.
Last month, the AFI also decided that it would redesign and strengthen its junior programme to be able to build on the gains of Neeraj Chopra’s Olympic Games gold medal and the three-medal haul in the World Athletics U20 Championships.