The iconic line of Captain Vikram Batra – “yeh dil maange more” (The heart wants more successes) aptly fits on Subedar Neeraj Chopra. He scripted history and ended the track and field medal drought at the Olympic stage. Since then, he has not looked back. He is relentlessly climbing new summits and casting his legacy on stone.
A new first for ace Indian athlete Neeraj Chopra
It seems as if winning medals and scripting history at the global stage has become a habit of Subedar Neeraj Chopra. He has pulled out yet another first and has cemented the Indian tricolour at the top in the Javelin arena.
On 8th of September, Neeraj Chopra became the first Indian to win Diamond League. He won the Zurich Diamond League Final 2022 with a mammoth throw of 88.44 metres. To sweeten the success, he pulled a clinical performance with no athlete crossing even his third best attempt at the sporting event.
India's javelin ace Neeraj Chopra finishes 1st in Diamond League 2022 final in Zurich with a massive throw of 88.44m in his second attempt.
A month earlier, he had won the Lausanne Diamond League. In June, he finished second at the Stockholm Diamond League. In July, he became the first Indian to win a silver at the world athletics championships.
Additionally, he has been relentlessly improving his personal best as well as national record. With a gigantic throw of 89.94 metres in the Stockholm league, he shattered previous National records.
His Olympic gold medal is the crown jewel in his long list of medals. With a gigantic throw of 87.58 metres, he made India’s presence felt for the first time in track and field events.
A remarkable turnaround in Diamond League
However, this journey has not always been the same. He had faced hardships in his journey. Evidently this was his third Diamond League Grand Final. In both previous outings at this event, he failed to achieve podium position.
In the 2017 Diamond League Final, Neeraj Chopra could only manage a humble rank of seventh among eight finalists with the best throw of 83.80 metres. In 2018, he registered a massive jump and came on fourth place with a decent throw of 85.73 metre.
Moreover, there is a little setback that the successful 2022 season has ended for Neeraj Chopra. In this season he has competed in six competitions in which he has bettered the national record twice.
With all these remarkable successes at the global stage, he has surpassed all the contemporary greats of the game. He is the biggest hope for more gold medals in the Olympic games and could become the only individual with back-to-back gold at consecutive Olympic games.
Frontrunner in the league of legends
Several athletes have achieved remarkable success at the Olympic stage for India. Indian shooting and wrestling contingents have always been the medal runners in all events but they have not lived up to the expectations especially at the Olympic stage. Similarly, Mirabai Chanu, Saina Nehawal, PV Sindu and others have failed to consistently deliver medal performances at reputed international tournaments. Mary Kom has itched her name in the World Amateur Boxing Championship but felt short to replicate the success in the Olympic games.
This is what puts Neeraj Chopra ahead of other champions. He is gradually coming closer to the greatness that once Major Dhyan chand did with his hockey sticks.
Major Dhyan Chand Singh heralded India on the map of the sports world. He created a whirlwind in hockey and created an irrefutable legacy. He led British India to three consecutive Olympic gold medals. He was either an active part or an inspiration in India’s continuous victories on the hockey field. Because of his unparalleled skills and command over the hockey stick, India dominated the sport until the early 70s. India won the field hockey event in seven out of eight Olympics from 1928 to 1964.
Just like Major Dhyan Chand, Neeraj Chopra has all the capabilities to dominate the Javelin sphere which other Indian sportspersons or teams have not been able to conquer in their respective games.
His greatest strengths/success are his humbleness and the continuous hunger to achieve more. He has made it clear that he will not be content with a single medal, and has a lot to achieve in the future.
His greatness can be gauged from the fact that he has not been blindly following success or money; rather has a firm focus on improving his skills and personal best performance. He has a steadfast commitment to cross the 90-metre barrier mark which he will surely achieve in near future. He has proved that he is in there for a long haul and will make India proud many more times in the future, just like the greatest athlete ever born in India Major Dhyan Chand.
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