India’s latest sporting hero Neeraj Chopra was the toast of the evening as the Sports Minister Anurag Thakur, his predecessor Kiren Rijiju and Nisith Pramanik (MoS Home Affairs) felicitated the country’s Olympians in a grand ceremony at the Ashoka Hotel in Delhi.
Neeraj Chopra was mobbed by fans and VIPs as soon as he landed at the IGI Airport in the capital city. Neeraj then shared his thoughts on the gold medal win before delivering an important message for everybody listening.
“Thank you all for the support. This gold medal is not just but for the entire nation. I have been roaming around with this in my pocket since then.
“I haven’t been able to eat or sleep properly since then but everything feels fine when I look at it,” Neeraj said.
Indian Olympic Champions’ Felicitation Ceremony: Highlights
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Neeraj became only the second individual Olympic champion from independent India. He ended India’s 13-year-long wait for the national anthem at the medal ceremony in the Olympics. The 23-year-old from Panipat was at his confident best as he blew the rest of the field away in the Men’s Javelin final.
“Competition was really tough, but you should never get scared by looking at your opponents. Just give your 100% and don’t be scared of anybody.
“When I threw the javelin for the 2nd time, I thought it would be my best attempt. My back and shoulders were paining after the event the next morning,” Neeraj Chopra, who was the final athlete to be felicitated, said to a loud applause.
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Neeraj, who rose to the spotlight when he broke the world junior record, has been one of India’s most consistent performers at the biggest sporting stages. After completing the Commonwealth Games double and Asian Games double in 2018, Neeraj overcame injury setbacks and Covid-19 pandemic constraints to achieve his dream of winning the Olympic gold.
Unlike what we have seen in the past, Neeraj did not seem to feel the pressure of an Olympic final. His swag was intact. In the qualification round, Neeraj sent a warning notice to the rest of the field. He came, he threw 86.64m and packed his bags and left.
In the final, Neeraj stunned the field with a 87.03m throw in his first attempt. The charged up India ran down the track for his second attempt, bettering his mark with 87.58m and raised his arms in delight, knowing he had done something special.
In the end, it turned out to be the winning throw as Neeraj celebrated with the flag draped around his shoulders at the Olympic Stadium. India returned with 7 medals, its best-ever tally at the Games and Neeraj made it special by giving the country a Gold on their final day of the campaign.