By Mohammad Suaib Khan
New Delhi, August 14 (IANS) Exactly one week ago, javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra made history after winning gold at the 87.58-meter Olympics in Tokyo and only becoming the second Indian after Abhinav Bindra to win. an individual gold medal at Olympics, and the first to bag the yellow metal to the country in an athletics event at the square games.
The athlete from the village of Khandar in Haryana’s Panipat district, who is also a subedar with 4 Rajputana rifles in the Indian Army, told IANS in an exclusive interview: “I can not express my feelings in words from the moment the national anthem was played during the medal ceremony. in Tokyo. ”
After his heroism at the Olympics, the star athlete has moved up 14 places to world No. 2 in the latest World Athletics men’s javelin throw list, after German Johannes Vetter. He was ranked 16th before heading to Tokyo.
Excerpts from the interview:
Q: You are the first Indian to win a gold in athletics at the Olympics. How much do you think it will benefit the sport in India?
A: It feels really nice to be the first Indian to win an athletics gold at the Olympics. That’s a good start. I do not think I can express my feelings when our national anthem was played during the medal ceremony. I feel the future of athletics in India looks bright.
Q: Can you briefly tell us about the pressure on you during the final? You looked pretty calm on the ground …
A: The qualifying throw set a kind of pace for the final. It was effortless and I did not feel any fatigue after it so it boosted my confidence. Even though I looked relaxed (during the final), in fact, a lot went through my head. But I tried to stay calm and focused, and therefore I was able to do well in the final.
Q: What do you think of your opponent Johannes Veter’s performance? He has a best of 97.76 m, but remained limited to only 82.52 in the final …
A: In javelin throwing, luck is one of the biggest factors and I think it was not Vetter’s day. He was not at his best and also had problems with the pitch and grip. But that does not mean he is not a good pitcher. He is still the world No. 1 and can regularly throw over 90 meters. He was very close to breaking the world record … So I reckon he’s still a better pitcher than me, just that it was not his day in Tokyo.
Q: Who would you like to thank for your achievement?
A: I would like to thank everyone across the country. I am grateful to SAI, AFI and JSW for their continued support.
msk / arm