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Don’t fear anyone, says Neeraj Chopra

Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra being welcomed on his arrival at IGI Airport, after the end of the Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020, in New Delhi, Monday, Aug. 9, 2021.

Olympic gold medalist Neeraj Chopra being welcomed on his arrival at IGI Airport, after the end of the Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020, in New Delhi, Monday, Aug. 9, 2021.

Olympic gold medallist javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra conveyed an important message to all athletes as he recalled his sterling performance in Tokyo. “Give your 100% and don’t fear anyone,” said Neeraj at the felicitation function organised by the Union Sports Ministry here on Monday.

The function, scheduled to be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, had to be shifted to a hotel owing to wet weather conditions.

The golden boy Neeraj said he knew that his second attempt in the final was a “special throw” and that’s why he celebrated immediately after it. The 87.58m effort eventually won him the gold.

“I felt the effort in my shoulder and elbow next morning,” he said cheerfully.

When Union Sports Minister Anurag Thakur asked Neeraj about the hardships faced by young athletes, he said that the shortcomings faced by the athletes made them more determined to achieve their goal and become an inspiration.

Former Sports Minister Kiiren Rijiju made an emotional speech, praising the women’s hockey players for making the whole country cry with them. “You played great, you won hearts,” he said.

Rijiju was equally proud about India winning seven medals in six disciplines, emphasising that there was no event bigger than the Olympics for the whole world. He was happy that Neeraj had dedicated his medal to Milkha Singh.

India’s men’s hockey goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh diverted the praise showered on him to the women’s hockey goalkeeper Savita Punia.

Wrestling silver medallist Ravi Dahiya said he was inspired by the deeds of Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt, and wanted to perform like them.

Hockey captain Manpreet Singh acknowledged the overwhelming support of the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the government, stressing that the entire team was like an extended family.

“We will get back together soon, as we have the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games next year. We will focus on them,” Manpreet said.

Lovlina Borgohain, who won bronze, said she was “feeling very good after coming home.” The boxer assured that her focus would stay on winning the gold in the Paris Games in 2024.

Weighlifting silver medallist Mirabai Chanu and badminton star P.V. Sindhu had earlier arrived to a rousing reception.

Many firsts

Thakur said that the Tokyo Olympics witnessed many firsts for India and assured that the government would work with the federations to help the Indian athletes shine more in the next two editions of the Olympics in 2024 and 2028.


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Printable version | Oct 4, 2022 8:14:27 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/frenzy-chaos-as-history-making-indian-olympic-contingent-returns-from-tokyo/article61431965.ece