Subedar Neeraj Chopra — an Olympian and a soldier

He joined the 4 Rajputana Rifles as a direct entry Naib Subedar in May 2016

August 08, 2021 05:29 pm | Updated August 26, 2021 06:09 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Subedar Neeraj Chopra in uniform.

Subedar Neeraj Chopra in uniform.

Neeraj Chopra, who won the Olympic gold in the javelin throw at Tokyo Olympics is a Subedar in the Army and enrolled in 4 Rajputana Rifles as a direct entry Naib Subedar on May 15, 2016. After joining the Army, he was selected for training at Mission Olympics Wing and Army Sports Institute in Pune.

“Neeraj started javelin to reduce weight as he was quite healthy and quickly took a liking for the sport. The rest is now history,” an officer said. He came into prominence with his performance at World U-20 Championship, Poland in 2016 where he set a new junior world record with a throw of 86.48m.

Sub. Chopra, 23, was born on December 24, 1997 in a family of farmers from a small village of Khandar in Panipat, Haryana. His father Satish Kumar is a farmer and mother Saroj Devi a homemaker. He has two sisters.

He won the Asian Championship 2017 in Bhubaneswar with a throw of 85.23m. Thereafter, Sub. Chopra started training under the renowned javelin champion Uwe Hohn of Germany and won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 with a throw of 86.47m. The same year he threw 87.43m in the Doha leg of the Diamond League. He won the Asian Games with a throw of 88.06m. In May 2019, he underwent a major elbow surgery.

Also read: Tokyo Olympics | I dedicate my gold medal to Milkha Singh, says Neeraj Chopra

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter that the “golden victory” of Sub. Neeraj Chopra at the Olympics brings laurels for the Indian Army. “He performed like a true soldier at the Olympics. It is indeed a historic and proud moment for the entire country including the Indian Armed Forces! Many congratulations to him!” he said.

Mission Olympics Wing of the Army, identifies and trains sportsmen in 11 selected disciplines at five Mission Olympics Nodes to excel in various national and international competitions. Mission Olympics Wing has given two Olympic silver medals in shooting to the nation and is committed for many more, the officer added.

Also read: From an athletics gold to fencing debut: India’s many firsts at the Tokyo Olympics

On Saturday, Sub. Chopra created history by winning the nation’s first gold medal with a throw of 87.58m. This was also the first Olympic medal in track and field events. Sub. Chopra joins Abhinav Bindra as only the second Indian to win an individual gold at the Olympics.

For his excellence in sports, Sub. Chopra was conferred with the Arjuna Award in 2018 and Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) in 2020.

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