When Neeraj Chopra refused to call Shah Rukh Khan his inspiration

Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra, who won the first Olympic gold medal in athletics for India in Tokyo, is now a sporting sensation in the country. Notably, Chopra is also the only second Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics event after Abhinav Bindra.

Chopra’s sensational on-field performance has translated seamlessly into a digital phenomenon, making the 23-year-old athlete hugely popular on social media. Meanwhile, an old video of the Olympic gold medalist is going viral on social media. In the video, Neeraj was asked about the inspiration behind his long hairstyle and his reply left everyone amused.

Notably, Neeraj first grabbed the limelight in 2015 as he became the junior world champion with a world record throw of 86.84m in Poland. He surpassed the previous best throw of 84.69m set by Latvia’s Zigismunds Sirmais and became the first Indian track and field athlete to set a world record.

At the time, Neeraj Chopra, now 23, had long hair that used to cover most of his forehead. So, during the Indian Sports Honours Awards, the athlete was asked about the inspiration behind those locks.

When asked whether his long locks were inspired by Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan or Indian cricketer Ishant Sharma, Chopra said with an understated conviction, “Neither.”

“Koi nhi hai ji! Main khud hi apne baal lambe rakhta hun (No inspiration. I like keeping my hair long),” he said.

Interestingly, in the same interview, Neeraj had asked the anchor to ask him questions in Hindi so that he could understand them properly.

Also, Neeraj was asked how javelin happened to him, to which he replied in Hindi, “God decided it for me. I used to play different sports in my village (Khandra). But once I went to the ground and saw seniors throwing the javelin in the air, I joined them. I did not even know what javelin is. It started just like that and now I’m here in front of you.”