Neeraj Chopra wrote history when he became India’s first track-and-field athlete to win a gold medal at the Olympics. Chopra secured a top-podium finish at the javelin throw event in Tokyo 2020 with the highest score of 87.58m. The 23-year-old also became the only second Indian to win an individual Olympic gold medal after Abhinav Bindra, who achieved the feat in Beijing 2008.
Chopra, among all the other participating athletes from India in the Tokyo edition, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday as he hosted breakfast for the athletes at his residence.
The prime minister interacted with Chopra and congratulated him on his incredible feat, and also talked about his mindset during the final of the javelin throw event.
“When you attempted the second throw, you already entered into celebratory mode. One needs a lot of confidence to reach to this level, and a lot of knowledge about their game as well as the opponent’s. How was this possible?” PM Modi asked Chopra.
“We had been training for a lot of years for this, so when you make the throw, the effort which was put into it sometimes tells you that it was your best throw,” replied the javelin thrower.
“That confidence comes from regular training. My training was very good.”
PM Modi also lauded Chopra’s ability to remain calm despite a win or loss.
“You’ve an extraordinary gift from god. I’ve seen that victory doesn’t get into your head and loss doesn’t stay in your mind, and it’s a very big thing. I’ve seen you very balanced. How do you do it?” asked PM Modi.
The gold medal-winning athlete, in his reply, said that there remains a pressure to perform when you play at a stage as big as the Olympics, but the focus entirely turns to the game when one enters the field.
“Our sports is like that, sir. You are of course wary of your opponent’s score, but you need to be more focussed on giving your best. We have to focus on ourselves. We aim to not pay too much attention on others’ performance, because it will only make us more nervous,” Chopra said.
“Even in Olympics, you sometimes feel at a lot of people have hopes from you but when you enter the arena, your only focus is on giving your best,” he further said.