Neeraj Chopra wins gold medal at Tokyo 2020 for Javelin throw.
"I didn't feel any pressure in Olympics & I was able to focus on my performance", said India's man of the moment, Neeraj Chopra. For the first time since 2008, the Indian National Anthem was played out at the Olympics, all thanks to the star Javelin thrower.
The 23-year-old athlete from Haryana made history on August 7 by winning India's first-ever gold medal in track and field events in the Olympics. He also won India's first and only gold medal at Tokyo 2020.
According to Neeraj, the international competitions helped him to gain his confidence because of which he didn't feel any pressure while competing at the Olympics.
"Most important thing for me this year was to participate in international competitions...The 2-3 international competitions where I played helped me a lot. So I didn't feel any pressure in Olympics & I was able to focus on my performance," said Chopra, to news agency ANI.
The gold medalist wishes to break the Olympic record of 90.57m.
"A good first throw gives you the confidence & makes pressure on other throwers. My second throw was also very stable. My personal best was 88.07-m. So I decided to break Olympics record of 90.57 m. I gave my best but couldn't. I aim to achieve the mark of 90-m mark soon".
The young medalist said that a gold in athletics was necessary as many great athletes like the late Milkha Sigh and PT Usha were unable to achieve it. He acknowledged the years of hard practice and the support of many people that enabled him to achieve this feat today.
"India won many medals in Olympics. We have won #Gold medals in hockey & shooting but some of our great athletes like Milkha Singh & PT Usha somehow failed to bag the medal. So it (Gold medal in athletics) was necessary," he said, as quoted by ANI.
Finally, Chopra wishes for the Athletics Federation of India to promote Javelin throw more aggressively, as he believes there is no dearth of talent in India.
"Something different will definitely happen due to this Gold medal, particularly for javelin & athletics. I hope that AFI (Athletics Federation of India) will promote javelin more aggressively because I feel India has no dearth of talent. Since I have won this medal today, I feel we can do anything. I would like to appeal to AFI to support more players", said Chopra.
For an athlete with such dedication and determination, it might sound surprising, but Chopra thinks the best snack for any athlete is the famous street-side Pani Puri. In an interview given to ESPN, Chopra said there's no harm in eating pain puri, once in a while.
The reason behind this is that pani puri consists mostly of water that fills your stomach. The puri is quite light and is made with flour. Pani Puri also has very little spice in it and thus there is no harm in indulging in it, according to a report in Times of India.
Chopra's win was an emotionally exhilarating moment for every Indian and congratulatory messages flooded social media. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also spoke to Chopra and congratulated him for scripting history at Tokyo 2020.(With inputs from ANI)